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Howard Melton Webb (born 14 July 1971) is an Englishmarker football referee who operates in the Premier League and has been a FIFAmarker-listed referee since 2005. He lives in Rotherhammarker, South Yorkshiremarker.


Webb first took up refereeing in local Rotherham leagues in 1989. In 1993, he progressed to the Northern Counties East League as an assistant referee, becoming a referee for that league two years later. In 1996, he was appointed as a Football League assistant referee, and, in 1998, fulfilled the same function in the Premier League, as well as being promoted to the Football Conference as a referee. at the YNWA.TV website.In 2000, he was included on the National List of Football League referees, stepping up to the Select Group for the Premiership three years later. at the YNWA.TV website.> His first game in the foremost English league was on 18 October 2003, when he took charge of the 0–0 draw between Fulham and Wolverhampton Wanderers. He was appointed as a FIFAmarker official in 2005.

In November 2007, he was criticised by Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson for favouring Arsenal in the club's Premier League encounter. However, Ferguson also stated that he believed Webb had "a great chance to be the top referee".

FA Community Shield

Webb officiated the FA Community Shield game between League winners Chelsea and FA Cup winners Arsenal. Chelsea were 2–0 up through two Didier Drogba goals, by the time Cesc Fàbregas netted a goal for the Gunners twenty five minutes before the end. It was a tense finale, but the Blues held on to secure a 2–1 victory. Webb issued three cautions (to Frank Lampard, Claude Makélélé and Cesc Fàbregas) in a game that saw 11 substitutions. He was fourth official for the game the previous year between Arsenal and Manchester United.

First international match

Webb's first international game was in November 2005, when Northern Ireland took on Portugal in a friendly match. The game ended 1–1, with the home side scoring both goals. Northern Ireland went one down just before the break through a Stephen Craigan own goal, but Warren Feeney salvaged a respectable draw by netting in the second half. Tony Capaldi, Keith Gillespie and James Quinn were booked for Northern Ireland.

FA Trophy Final

Grays beat Woking 2–0 in this game, through goals from Dennis Oli and Glenn Poole, both just before half time. No players found their way into the book.

European Under-21 Championship

The 2006 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualifying rounds began in August 2004, with the finals taking place in May and June 2006. Webb officiated the Group A match which saw France beat Portugal 1–0, and the Group B game between Italy and Ukraine, which saw the Italians win thanks to a Giorgio Chiellini goal three minutes into second half stoppage time. Webb also took charge of one of the two semi finals, seeing Ukraine beat Serbia and Montenegro 5–4 on penalties, after a 0–0 draw. He was also appointed as fourth official for the final, which saw the Netherlands beat Ukraine 3–0.

First Champions League match

The Group E match between Steaua Bucharest and Lyon was Webb's first European appointment. The game finished 3–0 to Lyon, with four yellow cards being issued overall.

Carling Cup Final

Webb refereeing a match in 2007
The Carling Cup final was certainly not a dull affair. Theo Walcott gave Arsenal the lead with a well taken finish early in the first half - his first goal for the Londonmarker based club, but two Drogba goals gave Chelsea victory. The match ended with a large brawl, with most of the players on the pitch becoming involved. Managers José Mourinho and Arsène Wenger both entered the pitch in an attempt to calm the situation down. As a result of the melée, Webb sent off Mikel John Obi of Chelsea and Kolo Touré of Arsenal, and showed yellow cards to Frank Lampard and Cesc Fàbregas. After consulting his assistant, Webb also dismissed Emmanuel Adebayor. This was the first time that three red cards had been shown in a League Cup Final. Indeed, prior to this game only three red cards had been shown in all of the previous Finals. Later in the same year, Webb was selected to be the fourth official for the 2007 FA Cup Final, with Steve Bennett chosen as referee.

FIFA Under-20 World Cup

Webb was selected to officiate in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canadamarker during June and July, and was referee for the Group D game between Poland and Brazil at the Olympic Stadiummarker in Montréalmarker on June 30. He then took charge of the Group C game between Mexico and Portugal at the National Soccer Stadiummarker in Torontomarker on July 5.

UEFA Euro 2008

In December 2007, Webb was selected as England's representative to referee in UEFA Euro 2008, with Darren Cann and Mike Mullarkey as his assistants. On June 12 2008, whilst refereeing in his first match of the tournament between Austria and Poland and with less than one minute left in stoppage time, he awarded Austria a penalty after he adjudged Poland's Mariusz Lewandowski to have pulled the shirt of Sebastian Prödl. The penalty was converted and the match finished 1–1. Leo Beenhakker, the coach of Poland, described the decision as "inconsistent with the rest of the tournament". Some commentators praised the decision, describing it as "brave". In the light of UEFA's instructions to referees about conduct at set pieces, the decision to award a penalty in such circumstances was considered a breakthrough in strict implementing the laws of the game by some commentators. UEFA official William Gaillard said the decision was not controversial and was correct. On 15 June, Webb was reported as saying that the only incorrect decision he made was to allow Poland's goal, which he said was offside. "To me the penalty was clear and I hope that people later will look at it and realise it was the only decision that could be taken," Webb said. In the same interview he also said that neither he nor his family, who remain in England, feel under threat. "I have not received any threats," he said.

On 18 June, Webb refereed his second game of Euro 2008 when he took charge of the Group D match in which Greece lost 1–2 to Spain. UEFA confirmed on June 19 that Webb had not been selected to referee matches in the knock-out stages of EURO 2008.

Superliga 2008

Webb was invited to referee the final of the North American Superliga between New England Revolution and Houston Dynamo on August 5. New England won the match on penalties which took place at New England's home ground of Gillette Stadiummarker in Foxboro, Massachusettsmarker.

2009 Confederations Cup

In June 2009, Webb was one of the referees at the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa where he took charge of two games.On the 15 June, in the match between Brazil and Egypt with the score line at 3-3 and in the final minute, he appeared to signal for a corner after Egypt's Ahmed Al-Muhammadi had handled the ball to prevent a goal. Webb then sent off the defender and gave a penalty which Brazil scored from and eventually go on and win 4-3, Egypt claimed that Webb took advice from the fourth official who may have seen a TV replay and awarded the penalty based on this information, but the complaint was later rejected by Fifa. He also refereed the 0-0 draw between Iraq and New Zealand in Johannesburg.

2010 World Cup

On 24 October 2008, FIFA announced that Webb would be on the provisional list of referees for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.


Yellow / red cards per game

Year Games Total per game Total per game
2000–01 26 58 2.23 1 0.04
2001–02 32 69 2.16 5 0.16
2002–03 39 145 3.72 4 0.10
2003–04 34 92 2.94 9 0.26
2004–05 34 100 2.94 2 0.06
2005–06 47 117 2.49 7 0.15
2006–07 43 151 3.51 9 0.21
2007–08 38 128 3.37 2 0.05
Overall 293 860 2.94 39 0.13

Cautions and dismissals

Webb issued at least one card in every game he refereed in both the 2002–03 and 2004–05 seasons. As a result, it meant that he had shown at least one card in every game he took charge of between 2 March 2002 (Oldham v. Colchester) and 27 September 2003 (Sunderland v. Reading) and 10 April 2004 (Lincoln v. Swansea) and 18 December 2005 (Middlesbrough v. Tottenham). Between 17 February and 17 March 2007, Webb showed five red cards, all in the 90th minute.

The first red card he showed in the Premier League was to Michael Svensson of Southampton in the 0–0 draw between Bolton Wanderers and Southampton on 8 November 2003. To date, the only current England international he has dismissed is Peter Crouch, when he was playing for Southampton against Crystal Palace on 7 May 2005.

Since the 2000–2001 season, he has issued two red cards in the same game three times, twice giving one red to either side, once reducing one team to nine men (Milton Keynes Dons). He sent three players off in the same match for the first time in the 2007 League Cup final, when Mikel John Obi of Chelsea, and Touré and Adebayor of Arsenal, were given their marching orders. He has sent two goalkeepers off; Kelvin Davis whilst playing for Wimbledon in 2001, and John Filan of Wigan in 2004. Webb has shown red cards in consecutive matches six times.

Most cards in a Premiership game

Webb also issued ten cards in the 2007 Carling Cup Final between Chelsea and Arsenal.

Premier League red cards by season

Webb refereeing a match in October 2006.







See also


  1. Birthdate and biographical detail: Football League website.
  2. Detailed profile
  3. First ever Premier League match: website.
  4. Confirmation of international status: Official website.
  5. Arsenal v. Chelsea, FA Community Shield 2005 match report: website.
  6. N. Ireland v. Portugal, friendly match 2005: article.
  7. Grays Athletic v. Woking, FA Trophy Final 2006: Grays Athletic website.
  8. France v. Portugal Under-21 match lineups from
  9. Italy v. Ukraine Under-21 match lineups from
  10. Ukraine v. Serbia and Montenegro Under-21 match lineups from
  11. Netherlands v. Ukraine Under-21 match lineups from
  12. First European appointment, match report at Official website.
  13. Carling Cup Final, 2007: Match report at website.
  14. Poland v. Brazil, 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup: website.
  15. Mexico v. Portugal, 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup: website.
  17. Oldham v. Colchester match information from
  18. Sunderland v. Reading match information from
  19. Lincoln v. Swansea match information from
  20. Middlesbrough v. Tottenham match information from
  21. First red card in Premiership: website.
  22. England international dismissed - Peter Crouch (2005): website.
  23. Norwich v. MK Dons match information from
  24. Chelsea v. Arsenal match information from
  25. Kelvin Davis dismissal from
  26. John Filan dismissal from
  27. Michael Svensson dismissal: website.
  28. Gonzalo Sorondo dismissal: website.
  29. Peter Crouch dismissal: website.
  30. Darren Ambrose dismissal: website.
  31. Michael Dawson dismissal: website.
  32. Hayden Mullins dismissal: website.
  33. Luis Garcia dismissal: website.
  34. Djimi Traore dismissal: website.
  35. Ousmane Dabo dismissal: website.
  36. Philippe Senderos dismissal: website.
  37. David Bentley dismissal: website.
  38. Leon Andreasen dismissal: website.

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