England’s Webb to referee World Cup final – FIFA
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – England’s Howard Webb will referee Sunday’s World Cup final between the Netherlands and Spain at Johannesburg’s Soccer City, FIFA said on Thursday.
The 39-year-old from Rotherham, in nothern England, has been a FIFA-listed referee since 2005 and the former policeman regularly keeps law and order amongst the top stars of England’s Premier League.
Webb is widely-regarded as one of Europe’s top referees and took charge of May’s Champions League final between Inter Milan and Bayern Munich in Madrid.
At the World Cup, he refereed Spain’s 1-0 defeat to Switzerland in a group match and then oversaw Slovakia’s stunning 3-2 victory over Italy which confirmed the first round exit of the defending champions.
He was also the focus of film-makers when a Belgian documentary team recorded his movements at Euro 2008 for a film called “The Referees”.
Webb, the son of a referee, began officiating matches at the age of 18 and made his English Premier League debut in 2003 with match between Fulham and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
In 2005 he presided over the FA Community Shield game between Arsenal and Chelsea, whilst in November that year he took charge of his first national team encounter, a friendly between Northern Ireland and Portugal in Belfast.
In 2007 he was placed in charge of the League Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea, refereed his first Champions League tie and took part in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, presiding over five matches including the semi-final between Austria and the Czech Republic.
At Euro 2008, Webb covered two first-round matches and three matches at the Confederations Cup 2009 in South Africa.
Webb is the fourth English referee in the Final, the first being George Reader in 1950 followed by William Ling four years later and John Taylor in 1974.
Mexico’s Benito Archundia will take charge of Saturday’s third-place play-off between Germany and Uruguay in Port Elizabeth.