(Reuters) – Former referee Howard Webb is set to become the Chief Refereeing Officer at the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) in the coming months, the Premier League announced on Wednesday.
Webb had joined Major League Soccer’s Professional Referee Organisation (PRO) in 2017 as their manager of Video Assistant Referee operations before taking up the role of general manager of PRO.
The 51-year-old will see out his PRO contract before returning to England, effectively replacing PGMOL managing director Mike Riley who will step down after leading the organisation for 13 years.
“This is welcome and hugely positive news for PGMOL. Howard’s return is a major coup,” Riley said in a statement.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Howard and the new leadership team to build on the strong foundations in place and to implement the Elite Referee Development Plan.”
Webb was one of the English top flight’s most popular referees before his retirement, having officiated in nearly 300 Premier League games over 11 years.
He also officiated in the 2010 finals of the Champions League and the World Cup.
“I am looking forward to returning to England and starting this new challenge when I have fulfilled my contract with PRO – it’s an excellent opportunity for me,” Webb said.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)