ENGLAND'S top referee Howard Webb has announced his retirement to become technical director of the body that oversees professional officials.
Webb, 43, who refereeed the 2010 World Cup final and at the recent World Cup in Brazil, hangs up his whistle after 25 years.
He has been appointed technical director of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the Premier League announced.
Webb said: "I am very excited to start this new chapter in my career after a wonderfully rewarding 25 years on the pitch.
"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 major international tournaments, and taken charge of the UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup finals.
"Refereeing has given me so much and I think 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 I believe 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."