Howard Webb has retired from professional refereeing to become technical director of Professional Game Match Officials Limited.
The 43-year-old former policeman, widely regarded as the best English official of his generation, confirmed his retirement barely a week before the start of the new Premier League season.
Webb will now be responsible for overseeing the technical direction and standards that govern the on-field performance of PGMOL’s match officials. He will also “take a public-facing role, informing and educating on refereeing matters” and report to the PGMOL general manager Mike Riley.
“I am very excited to start this new chapter in my career after a wonderfully rewarding 25 years on the pitch,” Webb said.
“I have spent over a decade with the best seat in the house for Barclays Premier League matches, been lucky enough to be involved in nine UEFA and FIFA tournaments, and taken charge of the UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup finals.
“Refereeing has given me so much and it’s important that match officials who have had the rewards remain in the game to pass on their knowledge. I also have much more to learn about the business of refereeing and the best place for me to do that is with PGMOL. It’s an incredibly positive working environment and we all have a common goal of improving refereeing.”
Webb’s career reached a peak in 2010 when he became the first person to referee the Champions League final and the World Cup final in the same year. He also refereed at Euro 2008 and Euro 2012, and was widely praised for his performances at the World Cup in Brazil.
His most memorable performance came during the final between Holland and Spain in South Africa. Webb produced a record-breaking 14 yellow cards and sent off Netherlands defender Johnny Heitinga in Spain’s extra-time victory.
But his most controversial moment in same match came when he failed to send off Nigel De Jong for his infamous kung-fu kick on Xabi Alonso.
Webb, who began refereeing in 1989 and progressed through the Northern Counties and Football League to become a Select Group referee in 2003, refereed more than 500 Barclays Premier League and Football League matches and officiated in every major domestic final.
In 2011, he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to football.
Man U ref?
Over the years, Webb has been accused of being a secret Manchester United fan due to some of his decisions involving the Premier League giants. The table below shows Webb’s involvement with the title’s usual suspects. The result, however, shows that Yorkshire man showed – if number of wins and points are the yardsticks – an allegiance to Manchester… City!
|Team||P||W||D||L||GD||Pts||Pts per game|