South Yorkshire ref nurtures young talent

Howard Webb with pupils from Fir Vale School

Howard Webb with pupils from Fir Vale School

South Yorkshire referee Howard Webb is helping youngsters to show anti-social behaviour the red card.

The Rotherham-born match official made a return to the police force after a five-year break which including him refereeing the 2010 World Cup Final, and now he is using his contacts in the beautiful game to inspire local boys and girls.

Howard has helped to launch South Yorkshire Police’s project SportFX, which provides free coaching sessions to 10- to 19-year-olds.

The scheme has helped more than 400 youngsters across Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley stay off the streets and enjoy a kickabout with qualified FA coaches.

Howard said: “This is a fantastic opportunity that South Yorkshire Police have provided me with here since returning to work.”

SportFX has been funded by Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA and supported by local schools.

One of the most successful sessions is at Fir Vale School in Fir Vale, Sheffield, which attracts 130 youngsters every week. Plans are in place to increase the number of coaching sessions this year.

Howard said: “I work 10 hours per week, predominantly on crime prevention and community engagement. The funding became available and it seemed logical to bring together my refereeing work and my police work.”




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