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Howard Webb accepts new role ending his 25-year refereeing career

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LONDON - Premier League referee Howard Webb, who took control of the 2010 World Cup final, has been appointed Technical Director of Professional Game Match Officials Limited, ending his 25-year refereeing career.

Webb refereed his first Premier League match in 2003 and also took charge of the 2010 Champions League final where Inter Milan beat Bayern Munich 2-0.

"I have spent over a decade with the best seat in the house for Premier League matches (and) been lucky enough to be involved in nine UEFA and FIFA tournaments," Webb said.

His new role at the PGMOL will see him share his experience through developing and training referees in England.

"Refereeing has given me so much and it's important that match officials who have had the rewards remain in the game to pass on their knowledge," he said.

The 2010 World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands, which Spain won 1-0 in extra time, is remembered as a bad-tempered encounter. Webb showed 14 yellow cards - one of which being a second to John Heitinga of the Netherlands, resulting in his dismissal.

Another of those bookings went to Nigel de Jong for a high foot that caught Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso in the chest, and Webb later told The Guardian in England he should have shown a red card.

Mike Riley, general manager of the PGMOL, says Webb will be missed in the Premier League.

"We are very excited that Howard's knowledge and skills are being retained and shared for them and the rest of PGMOL's officials," Riley said. "While we will no longer see Howard's commanding presence on the domestic and international stage. the role of PGMOL Technical Director will strengthen refereeing in this country."

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