Retired referee Howard Webb says he is enjoying his video technology introduction experience in the MLS.
The man who officiated the 2010 World Cup final and retired in 2014 is enjoying the thrill and challenges of spearheading the video technology implementation in the league.
He says he is working hard to ensure the smooth running of the system in the North American top flight league. Webb is the Manager of Video Assistant Referee Operations, where he oversees the development, education, assessment and assignment of VARs.
“It’s amazing this journey that football takes you on,” he says.
The man, who started his refereeing experience in Rotherham’s local leagues before growing into one of the most respected officials in the game, says it is still incredible that he is heading the video review project in New York.
Webb says he was approached by the MLS football officials to join the development and implementation of the video review project. The former match official said he was interested in the opportunity to combine his on the field experience with his recent work in television so he accepted.
He is seeking “maximum benefit for minimum interference” with the game to keep all parties happy. So far 49 officials had been trained before the project was launched in the MLS last month. The VAR teams were trained to cover every angle on the pitch, scavenging for officiating errors regarding four areas: goals, penalties, direct red cards and issues of mistaken identity. The team would recommend errors to the referee, who would have to make a TV Box signal to accept the VAR’s recommendations.
Webb says the system has been working very well so far and that they are ready to face the bumps which they know will come up at some point. After 39 games, 13 reviews have been noted and only 4 did not result in change in decision.