“The referees have to make their own decisions and Everton will face the PGMOL consequences’- Howard Webb’s response leaves Everton supporters frustrated over controversial decisions

Everton supporters are upset by Howard Webb’s response, saying, “The referees have to make their own decisions and Everton will face the PGMOL consequences.”
In response to worries expressed by Everton supporters regarding the way match officials handled the club, Howard Webb wrote to them.

Following a string of controversial calls against Everton, including the later-overturned red card given to Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the FA Cup match at Crystal Palace, the Fans Forum got in touch with the chief referee earlier this year.

Before releasing a written response this week, Webb had a conversation with forum representatives. In that response, he stated, “We are always striving for the best possible performance from our officials – something which is continuously reviewed.”
Early in January, after a string of dubious decisions made during the festive fixture list, concerns regarding the club’s treatment reached a peak. Jarrad Branthwaite told the ECHO, “Every game we get decisions against us,” indicating that the dressing room was clearly agitated following the Calvert-Lewin red at Selhurst Park. In my view, it was never a red card. He continued, implying that the decisions made by on-field referees should be trusted and saying, “In my opinion, referees need to make their own decisions.”

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His remarks were made after Chris Kavanagh had signaled that play would continue after the striker had challenged Nathaniel Clyne, and before VAR had stepped in to force a review of the ruling. A similar use of the technology led to Calvert-Lewin’s goal being disallowed at Tottenham Hotspur, raising concerns about the technology being used to “re-referee” incidents that the on-pitch officials had clearly seen. “We have a high threshold for VAR intervention in place with the aim to create a consistent approach so the game knows and understands invariably when and where officials will intervene,” Webb stated in reference to such matters.

Concerns about an uneven enforcement of the regulations were also widely held, given that Tottenham’s Dejan Kulusevski was given a penalty against Brighton and Hove Albion for a foul that was identical to one that Amadou Onana had committed days earlier but was not given a penalty. “Ultimately, as football fans, we feel the way football matches are being officiated is having a negative impact on the enjoyment and love for our game,” the FAB wrote in a letter to Webb. Other highlights of the letter included the controversial penalty against Onana for handball against Manchester City, the decision not to give Ibrahima Konate a second yellow at Anfield earlier in the season, and the fact that Everton was the only Premier League team without a penalty at the beginning of the year. Greater openness and a more uniform standard of decision-making that is equitable for all clubs are what we all want to see.

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In response, Webb wrote: “It’s important to remember that all Premier League Key Match Incidents (KMIs) are taken into account as a component of the Independent Key Match Incident (KMI) Panel procedure, just to give some broader context. Three independent panel members and one representative from PGMOL and the Premier League make up the Independent KMI Panel, which is currently in its second year of implementation in the league. The independent panel members always have extensive experience playing the game at the highest level both domestically and abroad, and this experience guarantees that the final decisions given to clubs fully take into account the viewpoint and expectations of football.

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Webb added in his formal response, “We are always striving for the best possible performance from our officials – something which is continuously reviewed including, of course, technical performance,” referring to the separate conversation he had with forum representatives over specific incidents. Performance across a range of metrics is used in a multidisciplinary team review and informs the match official appointment process across the competitions that PGMOL provides a service to. This process is supported by the work of the PGMOL coaching team and wider performance support team.

“We raised a number of questionable decisions with Mr. Webb and we are disappointed that he has not addressed these, and other points of concern, within his formal response,” Mr. Williams stated after receiving the response. It is annoying that the response took so long to arrive and has so little information, considering that we asked for more information on a few of the points brought up in our reply.

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