Football

Scudamore hails 'ultimate appointment' for Webb

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Howard Webb has been praised after being given the honour of refereeing the World Cup final.

Webb achieved a lifetime's dream after being named as the first English referee of a World Cup final for 36 years. The 38-year-old from Rotherham will take charge of Sunday's final between Spain and Germany at Johannesburg's Soccer City along with his assistants Darren Cann and Michael Mullarkey.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore paid tribute to Webb and his team saying: "We see the hard work and professionalism of Howard Webb, Darren Cann and Mike Mullarkey week in, week out. So, it is great to see their fantastic season, where they have already represented English refereeing in the UEFA Champions League Final, topped off with the ultimate appointment - the FIFA World Cup final."

Webb will become the first Englishman to referee the final since Jack Taylor in 1974 - who awarded the first World Cup final penalty ever to Holland just a minute into the match against West Germany - and follows in the footsteps of Bill Ling in 1954 and George Reader in 1950.

Webb has refereed three matches in this World Cup so far, starting off with Spain's shock defeat by Switzerland.

There was some unhappiness among the Spanish press who made him the scapegoat for the defeat - Marca gave him four out of 10 - but Webb's team really impressed in Italy v Slovakia where Cann was spot-on with a tight call to rule out a Fabio Quagliarella equaliser.

In the first knockout round match between Brazil and Chile, Mullarkey was equally praised for his decision to allow Luis Fabiano's goal while Chile defenders were claiming offside.

The Yorkshireman will become the first person to have refereed the Champions League or European Cup final and the World Cup final in the same year.

Webb, who is currently on a five-year break from South Yorkshire Police where he was serving as a sergeant in the force, said earlier on in the tournament that referees have to be brave.

The miner's son who grew up in the shadow of the Orgreave Colliery said: "You hope that you don't have controversies but sometimes you have to make the big decisions. If you don't, because you are trying to avoid controversy, you are not doing your job right. If the situation presents itself, you have to react."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
World Cup

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