Howard Webb’s appointment to the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final is proper recognition of his top class performances in the tournament.

Three potential World Cup Final referees were not appointed to the quarter final and semi final matches – Howard Webb of England, Benito Archundia of Mexico and Oscar Ruiz of Colombia.

It seems that FIFA had already decided on the short leet after the round of 16 and by keeping them out of the challenging quarter final and semi final matches it ensured none of them were excluded because of problems encountered in these matches.

Howard can feel very proud of the achievements of himself and just, as importantly, his assistants.

He has vast experience in the English Premier League, the highest profile league in world football, and of courses in UEFA competitions.

Although Benito Archundia of Mexico has been appointed to the playoff match for third and fourth place, he will be disappointed to have missed out. He refereed five matches in 2006 and was an obvious candidate in 2010, as was Oscar Ruiz of Colombia, now at his third World Cup.

Perhaps the fact that Spain qualified for the Final had some influence on the appointment since Howard would be seen as a north European refereeing a match between two European teams.

Had either Benito or Oscar been appointed it might have been seen to be a Latin American appointment for a match involving only one Latin European team?

Being told you are to referee the World Cup Final is something a referee will never forget.

I remember making the announcement to the referees in our headquarters in Okura Akademia near Tokyo before the Final in 2002.

It is an emotional experience.

Earlier, the Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee’, Senes Erzik had proposed at a meeting of the FIFA Referees’ Committee in Tokyo that the referees for the semi finals would be Urs Meier from Switzerland and Kim Milton Nielsen from Denmark. This was approved and the actual matches were allocated after some discussion and a vote.

The Chairman also recommended that the Final should be refereed by Pierluigi Collina of Italy with a team of European officials and this was supported by the Vice-Chairman Ricardo Teixeira, the President of the Brazilian Football Association.

There was some opposition from non European members of the Committee but the FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, was very supportive. He had insisted at an earlier meeting that only the best referees should be appointed and reminded the members of the FIFA Referees ’Committee of his earlier statements.

He was not involved in any way with the actual appointment but insisted that no football politics or regional influences should be considered.

At times like this you need strong leadership and Sepp Blatter provided it!

These events happened eight years ago but they indicate what happens in the corridors of power in world football.

When I made the announcement there was much support and congratulations for Pierluigi Collina and his team although some referees would be privately disappointed to have missed out.

That is the reality of football at this level.

I am sure the same things happen today.

The main thing is that an excellent appointment has been made.

  • Share/Bookmark