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Howard Webb to join Dutch FA in reviewing Video Refereeing at Soccerex

Howard Webb

Howard Webb

Two of the most influential voices on the future of refereeing will be addressing delegates at this year’s Soccerex Global Convention, 7 – 9 September, Manchester, UK.

World renowned former referee, Howard Webb will be joining Dutch FA (KNVB) Operations Director, Gijs de Jong, on a specialist panel looking at the impact of technology on refereeing and, in particular, the revolutionary role video assistants can play in supporting the on-the-pitch officials.

De Jong is responsible for the KNVB’s “Refereeing 2.0” project, a two year pilot scheme launched  in 2013, with the aim of creating fair and sporting  football matches at all levels, through high-quality refereeing. The project centred on the evaluation of goal-line technology, 5th and 6th match officials and a pioneering trial of the use of a video assistant.

The trial saw matches monitored across the Eredivisie, with clearly defined protocols limiting the moments evaluated to those which are directly related to key decisions such as red card incidents, penalties and goal-scoring opportunities and a limit of 15 seconds in which interventions could be implemented. Of the 24 matched monitored in the 2013-14 season, it was found that 76 incidents fitted the protocol and the referee’s verdict would have been overturned in 24 cases.

The KNVB presented their proposal to IFAB in February this year and, although the board failed to reach agreement on the sanctioning of a live trial, the KNVB remains committed to championing the introduction of video assistants with De Jong stating “The KNVB firmly believes that video replays are the future in football, so we’re keen to develop this”.

Speaking alongside De Jong on this important topics, will be Howard Webb, arguably England’s finest ever referee. Webb officiated in the Premier League for over a decade and took charge of some of the biggest matches in football including the finals of both the UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup in 2010.

Soccerex CEO, Duncan Revie commented “Technology has improved so many aspects of football and football business and refereeing is no different. In a few years I am sure the pioneering work of Gijs and the Dutch FA will be looked back on as pivotal to the way the game has developed.”

“I am also delighted to welcome back Howard – as one of the most respected referees of his generation, he witnessed the introduction of goal line technology during his career and his insight into what technology might do to further support the decision making process on the pitch will be fascinating.”

The panel “Video Technology and the Future of Refereeing” is just part of a market leading conference programme at the Soccerex Global Convention addressing the most topical issues affecting the governance, regulation and business behind the beautiful game. Webb and De Jong join an impressive and diverse list of expert speakers that already includes Davor Suker, Croatia Football Federation President and UEFA Executive Committee member, Don Garber, MLS Commissioner, Ian Ritchie, Rugby Football Union CEO, Dave Kaval, San Jose Earthquakes President and Simon Timson, UK Sport Performance Director.

The Soccerex Global Convention brings together over 3000 of football’s elite over three days of a thought provoking conference programme packed with business insight, alongside a market-leading international exhibition and extensive networking. A programme of social events completes the schedule for what is widely acknowledged as the world’s leading football business event.

The Convention is preceded by the Soccerex Football Festival, 5-6 September at The Old Granada Studios in Manchester. The two day free-to-attend event will combine the UK Football Freestyle Championships with a legends three v three tournament refereed by Howard Webb, a panna cage, interactive gaming, music and community initiatives to create the UK’s largest urban football festival.