EPL referee Howard Webb retires
English referee Howard Webb has called time on his 25-year whistle-blowing career.
Considered one of the top officials in England, the 43-year-old has refereed more than 500 English Premier League matches and received the honour of officiating the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa.
The Yorkshire native will now move on to assume a technical director post with Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body that oversees match officials in English football.
In a statement posted on the Premier League's official website, Webb said: "I am very excited to start this new chapter in my career after a wonderfully rewarding 25 years on the pitch.
"I have spent over a decade with the best seat in the house for Barclays Premier League matches, been lucky enough to be involved in nine major international tournaments, and taken charge of the UEFA Champions League and Fifa World Cup finals.
"Refereeing has given me so much and I think it’s important that match officials who have had the rewards remain in the game to pass on their knowledge."
Tapping on his background as a former policeman, Webb was known as a commanding referee who imposed his authority well on the game.
While he became the first referee to take charge of both the Champions League and World Cup finals in the same year, one of Webb's low points came in the World Cup final between Spain and Holland where he failed to send off Nigel de Jong for kungfu-kicking Xabi Alonso in the chest during a duel.
Webb later admitted that he should have awarded a straight red card instead of a yellow for that challenge.
Source: Reuters, AFP Premier League official website