Saturday 10 December 2016

Ex-referee Howard Webb makes extraordinary claim over Christmas bookings

Published 23/11/2016 | 00:05

Howard Webb
Howard Webb

Former Premier League referee Howard Webb has claimed that top players try to get booked and suspended in the run-up to Christmas, as they look to get time off over the festive season.

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Webb established himself as one of the top officials in the game in a career that included his selection to take charge of the 2010 World Cup final, with his claims made on BT Sport set to cause a stir in the game.

While he did not name any names with his contentious comments, it was clear that he feels he has been put in a position to hand out yellow cards to players eager to pick up a ban in the final week of December.

When asked if a player had ever asked Webb to give him a yellow card, he offered up this surprising response:

“A couple of times around Christmas players will want the time off and they will say a yellow card will suit my purpose,” suggested Webb.

“It is not what fans what to hear is it really. The might do a small holding offence, or kick the ball away to get what they want.”

The claims may not come as a major surprise as many players - especially foreign imports who are not used to playing over Christmas - have expressed their annoyance at the hectic fixture schedule that has been part of the traditions of English football for generations.

Yet we might all have a very different view if some unusual bookings are handed out in the final round of Premier League matches before the St Stephen’s Day matches next month.

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