Friday 15 December 2017

Ex-referee Howard Webb makes extraordinary claim over Christmas bookings

Howard Webb
Howard Webb
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

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.

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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