Howard Webb's £4k After-Dinner Speaking Gigs Distracting, Says Ex-Referee

Mark PattersonUK Staff WriterFebruary 17, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16:  Referee Howard Webb during the FA Cup fifth round match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on February 16, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Howard Webb, the English referee who took charge of the 2010 World Cup final, has been criticised by former colleague Mark Halsey for his after-dinner speaking commitments.

Webb came in for criticism after a difficult game over the weekend, and several of his decisions in the Arsenal vs. Liverpool FA Cup clash came in for criticism, not least from former referee Graham Poll.

But Halsey, another ex-ref, told radio station talkSPORT (as reported in the Daily Telegraph) that Webb should take a break and refocus:

Howard has made an error of judgment. He has not had the best of seasons. He has not been the Howard Webb we all know.

Perhaps he may need a little rest because he is perhaps doing too much.

He is not just refereeing football matches, he is doing a lot of work outside of football. He is doing a lot of after-dinner speaking. Everyone wants Howard Webb because he was the World Cup [final] referee [in 2010].

[...] He has to forget about what he is doing outside of football. He has got to put that on the back-burner and concentrate on what he is being paid for full-time.

As the Telegraph report adds, Webb's services are advertised with a number of sites across the after-dinner circuit.

The most embarrassing of those is potentially, where Webb can be hired for £2,000 to £4,000 a time. With the website styling itself as a "one stop comedy shop," the jokes unfortunately write themselves.

UPDATE, February 18, 8:30a.m.

Webb's entry on the website above appears to have been taken down.