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MBE honour for Webb

Referee reflects on amazing year

Last Updated: 31/12/10 7:38am

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Webb: Awarded MBE

Webb: Awarded MBE

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Howard Webb admits it has been an 'amazing' year after the World Cup final referee was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List.

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The South Yorkshire official took charge of Spain's victory over Holland in a stormy showpiece in South Africa back in July.

His appointment as the referee for football's biggest game followed on from taking charge of the club game's most important match - the UEFA Champions League final between Inter Milan and Bayern Munich.

The 39-year-old police sergeant, who is on a five-year break from South Yorkshire Police, became the first referee to be chosen to officiate at both finals in the same year.

Unbelievable

He said: "It has been an unbelievable 12 months and this honour tops off an amazing 2010.

"It will be a real treat to go to the Palace with my wife and family and it should be a marvellous occasion."

Though the Champions League final was straightforward enough with Inter winning 2-0, the World Cup final developed into one of the most challenging matches of Webb's refereeing career.

Holland's strong-arm tactics in the 1-0 defeat against Spain led to him showing 14 yellow cards, two of those leading to a red card for Everton's Dutch defender Johnny Heitinga.

Webb, the son of a Rotherham coal miner, took up refereeing in 1989 and refereed his first international match in 2005 while he was also in charge of the 2009 FA Cup final.

He added: "I always say refereeing is about your team, and without the support and ability of my assistants Darren Cann and Mike Mullarkey I would not have been selected for the final, so this honour is for them too and it would be lovely if they could be recognised in a similar way at some point in the future.

"I look back on the final as an amazing and memorable experience.

"It was the highlight of my career and although it was a tough game to referee it will live with me forever in a very positive way."

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