The fans have spoken but apparently Joseph Blatter and FIFA are not listening.
Referee Howard Webb, winner of RedCardTheRef’s poll for worst referee in the English Premier League, was named to FIFA’s list of referees and match officials for the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Webb’s assistants will be Mike Mullarkey and Darren Cann.
“All referees want to officiate on the biggest stage, so it’s a great honour for myself, Darren and Mike to return to the FIFA World Cup Finals,” Webb said.
FIFA announced its class of 2014 and 23 referee teams who will oversee matches in Brazil.
A full list of the referee appointments is available in PDF form on the FIFA website.
Also on FIFA’s list is Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir whose controversial sending off of Manchester United midfielder Nani in their Champions League playoff against Real Madrid in March of 2013 created a firestorm of criticism from fans.
Another puzzling appointment by FIFA was that of referee Mark Geiger, whose inconsistency and tendency to lose control of physical matches in Major League Soccer and in CONCACAF play could back to haunt the selection committee.
Given the logic behind some of the selections it is baffling that Ricardo Salazar, voted worst referee in Major League Soccer by our readers in a another poll wasn’t also selected to FIFA’s list for the World Cup. He also did a poor job and also infuriated fans so what gives FIFA?
We are unclear why the governing body continues to appoint unqualified officials and those with a track record of inciting mayhem for their crown jewel.
Webb won last year’s poll for worst referee in the Barclay’s English Premier League collecting 276 votes, only 11 more than his closest rival Chris Foy.
The bald-headed ex-policeman known for his over-the-top discipline and then at other times complete apathy on serious fouls has been a source of irritation to Premier League clubs and fans around the world.
In the 2010 World Cup final between Spain and Holland he was roundly criticized for handing out 14 yellow cards and the highly controversial sending off of Holland’s John Heitinga during injury time.
The thing that shocked most about Webb’s performance in this match is that he let things escalate too far without giving someone their marching orders as exhibited in this Youtube post:
This old-school approach to the rules and readiness to brandish cards and expulsions for perceived simulation when he is in the mood, while also ignoring serious fouls and dangerous play, has been a clear example of how differently the rules of the game are interpreted in England as opposed to the rest of the world.
Webb has also come under fire this season when Stoke’s Charlie Adam fouled West Bromwich Albion Youssouf Mulumbu in what West Brom coach Steve Clarke called a “stonewall penalty”.
The website of SkySports was flooded with negative comments about the appointment of Webb ranging from “This is a joke” to “are you kidding me”.
There would have been several other referees available for selection in England who would have made a better choice for a stage like the World Cup and who possess a more global approach to the interpretation of the laws of the game.
Although we have no doubt several fans will definitely feel differently, Webb said his appointment is a vote of confidence for English football referees.
“Our appointment is also an endorsement of the standard of refereeing in this country. This is the best group of Select Group referees I’ve ever worked with and I’m sure we’ll see several of them at major tournaments in the future,” he said in a statement on the Premier League website.
Webb leads our current poll for worst referee in the English Premier League. Is there someone else more deserving of this award? Have your say and vote now in our poll:
FINAL RESULTS FOR WORST REFEREE IN THE ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE POLL (Final votes tabulated on May 20, 2014)
- Roger East (1%, 11 Votes)
- Michael Oliver (2%, 17 Votes)
- Jonathan Moss (2%, 17 Votes)
- Neil Swarbrick (2%, 19 Votes)
- Mike Jones (4%, 36 Votes)
- Lee Mason (5%, 42 Votes)
- Martin Atkinson (6%, 51 Votes)
- Kevin Friend (8%, 65 Votes)
- Phil Dowd (9%, 80 Votes)
- Chris Foy (10%, 83 Votes)
- Lee Probert (10%, 84 Votes)
- Anthony Taylor (14%, 119 Votes)
- Andre Marriner (14%, 120 Votes)
- Mike Dean (14%, 122 Votes)
- Mark Clattenburg (17%, 143 Votes)
- Howard Webb (35%, 298 Votes)
Total Voters: 863