Howard Webb: Police officer turned football referee

Howard Webb MBE is a former FIFA and English FA referee who will always hold the spot for being one of the most intimidating referees but more importantly he is known for being one of the best Premier League referees to ever officiate.

Webb was born in Rotherham and started refereeing part-time while still a police officer with the South Yorkshire Police. He started his career in 1989 and eventually became a Premier League assistant referee in 1998. He took a sabbatical from policing to focus full time on refereeing a decision he won’t regret. In 2003 he made the step up to main match referee.

He made his Premier League referee debut on 18 October 2003 taking charge of Fulham vs Wolves. He took charge of 296 Premier League games. He also officiated 43 FA cup games and 19 EFL cup games. He wasn’t without his controversy. In 2011 he officiated a match between Liverpool and Manchester United which Manchester United best au online casino ended up winning by a penalty. Liverpool forward Ryan Babel took to Twitter to display his anger by posting a picture of Webb in a Manchester United shirt insinuating the former police officer of being biased. Babel later removed the most and was fined.

 He went on record saying he regretted awarding Manchester United a penalty in a game against Spurs which United ended up winning resulting in them getting an edge in the title race, the penalty was a mistake as Gomez the Spurs goalkeeper made contact with the ball first. He received a one-week demotion from the Premier League for his mistake.

He was appointed as the referee for the 2010 UEFA champions league final between Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. The game ended 2-0 Inter Milan. He issued 3 yellow cards in a game with not much controversy. He oversaw 36 games in the UEFA champions league.

He was selected as England’s representative for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. 

His first game was in charge of Spain vs Switzerland which Spain, the eventual world cup winners, lost. He took charge of the final between Spain and the Netherlands. He showed 14 yellow cards in a very physical game which also saw him sending Dutch centre back John Heitinga to the stands. However a big talking point came when Nigel de Jong committed a high tackle on Xabi Alonso studding him on the chest, Webb deemed the foul only a yellow card. He would later on say that his view was obstructed when making the decision.

Webb would eventually hang up his whistle in 2014 to pursue a role as Professional Game Match Officials Board. The board’s role is to decide on who officiates in English top tiers.

Webb now works as an analyst for different media houses. He also married Bibiana Steinhaus, who also was a referee and also a police officer. He officiated in 534 games in the span of his 13-year career no doubt that he will always be held in high regard for his officiating.

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