Webb to step up should England miss out on World Cup Final
While much has been made of the England side’s departure and subsequent arrival in South Africa this morning, less attention has been focused on the country’s other representative at the World Cup this summer.
For the Football Association’s chosen referee, Howard Webb, was also among those to touch down to Johannesburg airport today, and he’ll be one of few Englishmen hoping to outlast Fabio Capello’s men at the World Cup.
Webb is 14/1 sixth favourite to referee the final on July 11th, a price that rather reflects England’s strong chance of getting there than his true likelihood of being picked as FIFA’s first choice official. It’s why refs from nations unlikely to go too far – Switzerland (Massimo Busacca 3/1), Uruguay (Jorge Larrionda 3/1), Belgium (Frank De Bleeckere 6/1) and Mexico (Benito Archundia 8/1) are the favourites.
For, should England crash out, he has a great chance of taking charge alongside assistant refs Darren Cann and Mike Mullarkey – the same team who successfully officiated the Champions League final this season.
Despite receiving death threats from Polish fans at the last major international tournament he took part in, Euro 2008, UEFA backed his last-minute decision to award Austria a penalty.
And his reputation in the eyes of European football’s governing body did not take a hit, as his elevation to the higher echelons of club refereeing demonstrated.
It’s unlikely that FIFA will have a different opinion of the former policeman, and should his first few games go without a hitch, at 14/1 he might well be worth a back-up bet to those who’ve backed England to make it as far as the final – should they not get there, Webb might be the next best thing.