Howard Webb has ended his 25-year refereeing career to become technical director of the English association professional referee’s body.
Webb has refereed a number of notable matches, including both the Champions League and World Cup finals.
The 43-year-old has taken centre-stage in 500 Premier League and Football League matches.
“I am very excited to start this new chapter in my career,” said the former South Yorkshire Police officer.
He began his career in 1989, progressing through the Northern Counties and Football League to become a Select Group referee in 2003.
Webb also officiated in every major domestic leagues final. Since taking his international bow in a friendly encounter between hosts Northern Ireland and Portugal in November 2005, he has succeeded handling nine major international tournaments- including the European Championships, the 2007 Fifa U-20 World Cup in Canada, 2009 Fifa U-17 World Cup in Nigeria and the Fifa Confederation Cup.
Webb refereed the Group C match between Colombia and Ivory Coast at this year’s World Cup in Brazil, as well as the first round of 16 match between Brazil and Chile.
“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,” said Webb.
“I also have much to learn about the business of refereeing and I believe the best place for me to do that is with PGMOL.”
As technical director of Professional game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), Webb will be responsible for overseeing the technical direction and standards which govern match officials.
A special and sad day
Fifa head of refereeing Massimo Busacca says football will miss one of its all-time best match officials.
“Today is a special and sad day because one of the best referees in the world has brought his career to a close. Howard was always serious and prepared for every game in a very professional way,” the Swiss former football referee said.
“Without passion and natural quality you can not reach the highest level. Howard was always a great example for every young referee. I am sure he will be able to transmit his knowledge and experience to many referees in England and around the world in his new role. My advice to him? Be like you were on the pitch.”