'Excited' Howard Webb ready for the next chapter after hanging up his whistle
Howard Webb called time on his 25-year refereeing career yesterday after deciding to retire following his final World Cup as a match official.
The 43-year-old confirmed he was quitting barely a week before the start of the Premier League season, as well as accepting the newly-created role of technical director at Professional Game Match Officials Limited.
Widely regarded as the best English referee of his generation, Webb had been considering his future during the World Cup as FIFA's age limit for match officials is 45.
Despite no such restrictions in the domestic game, the former police sergeant elected to bow out at the top and begin passing on his experience to the next generation.
That experience includes the 2010 Champions League and World Cup finals, two European Championships, an FA Cup and League Cup final and more than 500 Premier League and Football League matches.
Webb's new job, created following conversations with PGMOL general manager Mike Riley, will involve him overseeing the technical direction and standards that govern the performance of England's elite officials.
"I am very excited to start this new chapter in my career after a wonderfully rewarding 25 years on the pitch," Webb said.
"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."
Riley said: "We want to accelerate the development of referees from the semi-professional game so that we have an even stronger talent pool to pick from at Select Group level. There is no one better to lead that than Howard Webb."
Rotherham-born Webb began refereeing in 1989 and progressed through the Northern Counties and Football League to become a Select Group referee in 2003.
His rise was not without controversy, however, most notably when he issued a record 14 yellow cards and one red in the 2010 World Cup final, six months before Liverpool's Ryan Babel was fined for posting a fake Twitter picture of the official in a Manchester United shirt.
His final match was this summer's World Cup last-16 tie between Brazil and Chile, after which he came under fire from the host nation for refusing to award them a goal and a penalty.
That did not prevent him being considered as referee for a semi-final or the final, but Brazil and Argentina's involvement – the latter following a row over a Falklands banner – scuppered his hopes. (© Daily Telegraph, London)