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World Cup Webb prepares to make history
11:40am Sunday 11th July 2010 in World Cup 2010 news
Howard Webb will make history today as the first Englishman to referee a World Cup final since 1974.
The 38-year-old former police sergeant, along with assistants, Darren Cann, from Poringland, Norfolk, and Michael Mullarkey, from Exeter, will officiate the clash between Spain and Holland at Johannesburg’s Soccer City.
Webb, from Rotherham, was chosen for the South Africa final by Fifa’s referees committee.
The last Englishman to referee be given the role was Jack Taylor.
Webb described being selected as the “ultimate honour” in his profession.
”We are delighted to have been selected for the game, it is a wonderful honour and a privilege. It is the ultimate honour for a referee,” he said.
”We are proud to be representing the English FA as well as Fifa and all the other officials here at the World Cup.”
The English trio will become the first to have refereed a Champions League final and World Cup final in the same year.
”We will try to be a calming influence where we can and use all our experience of being involved in big games,” said Webb.
Cann, a former bank manager, added: “This is the culmination of 20 years’ hard work and is the greatest honour we can receive as match officials.
”It was a very emotional moment in truth when we were told.”
Webb took a five-year career break from South Yorkshire Police in 2008 to concentrate on refereeing.
He has taken charge of three other matches in this year’s World Cup - Spain v Switzerland, Brazil v Chile and Slovakia v Italy.
He started refereeing at the age of 19.
In 2000, at the age of 29, he was included on the National List of Football League referees and three years later he was selected as a Premiership referee. In 2005, aged 34, he received his Fifa badge.
The father of three emerged as the Premier League’s leading referee following the retirement of Graham Poll, the last World Cup referee from England.