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The World Cup final official is afraid that if players continue to feign injury on the pitch, referees will not react quickly enough in genuine life-threatening situations

Premier League referee Howard Webb is worried that play-acting could endanger the lives of football players.

The 40-year-old was the man in charge when Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch at White Hart Lane in March.

And the Yorkshireman fears that referees will not react quickly enough to genuine emergency situations if players continue to feign injury.

"If people cry wolf too often then there is a possibility we will not react as we need to do," Webb told reporters.

"If people cry wolf too often then there is a possibility we will not react as we need to do" - Howard Webb
"If we come under criticism for stopping the game too many times for doctors or physios to enter the field of play then maybe referees will be inclined not to stop the game.

"I think the message we are trying to get across is that it is always better for referees to be safe rather than sorry, not to take chances and for everyone involved in the game to understand that a referee's first priority is to look after the players in the game he is taking charge of.

"If he does stop the play, and it turns out to be nothing, it is not the referee's fault because his priority is the players."

Webb also revealed that the decision to abandon the FA Cup quarter-final tie between Tottenham and Bolton after Muamba's collapse was not his decision.

"The players pretty much decided themselves," he added.

"They were clearly of the mind they did not want to continue."

 




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