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Select Referee Profile

FIFA Howard Webb


In 2010 Howard Webb became the first man ever to be the Referee at both the Champions League Final and the World Cup Final in the same year.

In taking charge of the showpiece final in South Africa when Spain defeated Holland 1-0 after extra-time, Howard also became England’s second World Cup Final Referee – following in the footsteps of Jack Taylor, who was in charge of the 1974 match.

Howard was assisted by Darren Cann and Mike Mullarkey in Johannesburg, as he had been two months earlier when in charge of the Champions League Final as Inter Milan beat Bayern Munich at the Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid.

The two major appointments were a huge honour for Howard and a great reflection on the standard of refereeing in England.

Howard has previously officiated other high-profile games including the 2009 FA Cup Final, 2007 League Cup Final and 2005 Community Shield, as well as in the Champions League, FIFA Under-20 World Cup, Euro 2008 and the Confederations Cup.


How did I get introduced into refereeing?

I have always been football mad, playing and watching from a very young age. My father was a Referee at semi-professional level but I never really had any desire to become a referee - I always wanted to play. However, despite having trials at my local professional club as lots of youngsters do, I realised that I wasn't going to make the grade at that level and therefore began playing football at a lower level. My father kept telling me that there was a desperate shortage of Referees at the local level and that I ought to give it a go. I wasn't interested at first as I was happy playing and watching but eventually, after some persuasion, I decided to give it a go. I was still only 18 and continued playing and refereeing for several years until I decided to fully focus on refereeing.
What has been the highlight of my career so far?
There have been so many highlights, I have been very fortunate. Occasions which stand out for me are my promotion onto the Referee's List for the Premier League and my nomination for the FIFA Referee's list. Also, being involved in tournament football has been memorable, including the European Under-21 Finals in Portugal 2006 and the FIFA Under-20 World Cup finals in Canada 2007.
What is the best game I have officiated and why?
The Carling Cup final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium was a particular highlight and turned out to be a very entertaining yet challenging match. It's always a real honour to be appointed to a major domestic Cup Final.
What are my aims as a Select Group referee?
I thoroughly enjoy my life as a Select Group Referee and feel very honoured and privileged to walk out onto the pitch before every match I referee. My main aim is to keep improving and to be the best I can be. The journey so far has been amazing and as an ambitious person I am keen to see what other opportunities become available through continued hard work. But the main thing is that I continue to enjoy the challenge.
What skills do I think you need to become a professional Referee?
You need to be an excellent manager of people and be a good communicator. You also need lots of awareness and courage. But the main things for me are a desire to learn and work hard, and having belief in yourself.
Who has been the biggest influence in my career and why?
It takes the help, assistance and guidance of many people to make it to this level. Coaches and mentors are vital. Ron Skidmore from the Northern Counties East Football League played a major part in my progression early on. Trevor Simpson was my coach on the Football League referees list followed by Keith Hackett on the Football League development group and both were influential in my elevation to the Select Group. My coach on the Select Group Keren Barratt has been a massive help in the last few years pointing me in the right direction and keeping me sane! My colleagues on the Select Group are also a great source of advice and many of us speak together regularly to iron problems/issues out. But the biggest influence throughout my entire career of almost 20 years has been my father Bill, who is always there for me. He tells me how it is whether I am good or indifferent and our chats after matches are a great way for me to self-reflect on my performances. He is also my chauffeur!
In my opinion who is/was the best Referee?
Difficult one because there have been so many good referees over the years from around the world. But I believe that the best Referees are my colleagues on the Select Group because they referee week in, week out under such intense scrutiny in today's game which is so fast and often intense. However, I have respect for anybody who takes up the challenge of refereeing at whatever level.