Without any concerns of Uruguayan complications to worry about, Premier League referee Howard Webb has been tabbed to handle Sunday’s World Cup Final between the Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City in Soweto. Finally, an Englishman in the World Cup Final! The last was Jack Taylor in 1974.
The news comes on the same day that FIFA says it will make refereeing changes to ensure there’s no repeat of the goal-line blunder that hurt England at this World Cup.
The no-nonsense Webb, a 38-year-old former police officer from South Yorkshire, has been in charge of three matches so far and has not awarded a red card or a penalty kick. Darren Cann and Mike Mullarkey will serve as Webb’s assistants.
Webb, who handled this year’s Champions League Final, issued ten cards in the 2007 Carling Cup Final between Chelsea and Arsenal. He was also in charge of the 2009 FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Everton.
At this World Cup, Webb worked Spain’s tournament-opening loss to Switzerland, Slovakia’s upset of Italy and Brazil’s round of 16 victory over Chile.
Also, At The Rails would like to say a sad farewell to Robert Millward, the London-based sportswriter for the Associated Press, who was found dead in his Johannesburg hotel room today after apparently suffering a heart attack. Today’s preview of Sunday’s final was the last story he ever filed. Millward, a West Brom supporter, was 58.