Football: Ref Howard Webb retires

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Howard Webb has retired as a match referee and has been appointed technical director of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, the Premier League announced on Wednesday.
In his new role, Webb will be responsible for overseeing the technical direction and standards that govern the on-field performance of match officials. In a statement on the Premier League’s website, Webb expressed his excitement and said he is looking forward to the challenge.

“I am very excited to start this new chapter in my career after a wonderfully rewarding 25 years on the pitch,” Webb told the Premier League website.

“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.

“Over the last five years in particular we have made huge strides in terms of our accuracy, fitness and professionalism. The current Select Group are the best referees this country has ever produced and I am thrilled that I not only get the chance to continue working with them but also the opportunity to help develop the next generation of Select Group officials,” he added.

Webb began refereeing in 1989 and progressed through the Northern Counties and Football League to become a Select Group referee in 2003. He has refereed more than 500 Barclays Premier League and Football League matches and officiated in every major domestic final.

A Fifa elite referee, Howard has officiated in eight international tournaments, including two Fifa World Cups and two Uefa European Championships.

In 2010 Webb became the first referee to take charge of the Uefa Champions League final and the Fifa World Cup final in the same year. In 2011 he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to football.

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