Howard Webb: Feigning injury could cost lives

Howard Webb
© PA Photos
Howard Webb calls for players to stop feigning injury following Fabrice Muamba's cardiac arrest earlier this year.

Premier League referee Howard Webb has issued a warning to all footballers, claiming that feigning injury could cause match officials to slowly react in dangerous situations.

The Yorkshire-born former policeman has been speaking for the first time about Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba's cardiac arrest, which was suffered during an FA Cup clash between the Trotters and Tottenham Hotspur, which Webb was officiating.

"The fact that he wasn't rolling around screaming in agony, the way he went down with no contact, meant immediately it was serious," said Webb. "And it was not only me - the players recognised it. You see William Gallas's reaction - an opposing player - immediately waving to the bench to come on.

"If the game had not been stopped within 20 or 30 seconds, that might have made a difference to his chances of recovery.

"One of our obligations as a referee is to try and observe fair play and keep the game flowing when we can. But, if players cry wolf too many times, then there is a possibility that maybe we will not react in the way we need to do based on what we saw there."

Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba was one player accused of using fake injuries as a tactical ploy during the Premier League this season.

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CBournemouth462612898455390
4Middlesbrough4625101168373185
5Brentford462391478591978
6Ipswich TownIpswich4622121272541878
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves4622121270561478
8Derby CountyDerby4621141185562977
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13Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds461418144349-660
14Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest461514177169259
15Leeds UnitedLeeds461511205061-1156
16Huddersfield TownHuddersfield451315175875-1754
17Fulham461410226283-2152
18Bolton WanderersBolton461312215467-1351
19Reading461311224869-2150
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21Rotherham UnitedRotherham461116194667-2146
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RWigan AthleticWigan46912253964-2539
RBlackpool45413283691-5525