Top football ref Howard Webb on speed awareness course run by Shropshire organisation

It was four hours “well invested” said top football referee Howard Webb who sent himself off to a speed awareness course run by a Shropshire road safety organisation after being caught speeding.

The World Cup referee, one of the best known in the Premiership, volunteered to attend the course the day before the start of the football season in his home town of Rotherham.

By attending the course, run by the UK's leading road safety education organisation, the TTC Group, of Hadley Park, Telford, he did not receive three points on his driving licence.

The referee, who drives 35,000 miles a year, had been caught speeding at 45mph in a 40mph limit by a safety camera "close to home" and three miles from his local gym. The 42-year-old, who runs 12 kilometres a match, had been on his way to a Saturday morning keep fit session ready for the new football season.

And the Yorkshire born referee, who is known for his fairness on the pitch, ruled: “It could happen to anyone.

"It was only a slight error of misjudgement. It's something that happens to everyone as part of their driving life,” said Howard, a former community police sergeant who gave up his career to become a full time referee.

He said he was thinking of “other things” when he should have been concentrating on driving and praised the road safety course held at the TTC Group's training centre at Catcliffe run by trainers Gareth Almond and Michael Owen.

"It is easy to creep over the limit but the speed awareness course showed you there can be severe consequences of speeding.”

Everyone on the course “got stuck in” and enjoyed it, said Howard, who received the MBE for services to football.

“It was a positive experience to make you think about the way you drive and the information stays with you. There were useful road safety messages not just about speeding but how to drive more safely and economically.”

“It wasn’t four hours wasted. It was four hours well invested,” said Howard, who is counted among the all time top referees by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics.

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