Stop digging, Howard Webb. You’re only making things worse

More than one month after a questionable refereeing display in the World Cup final, Howard Webb finally broke his silence, saying he should have sent off Nigel de Jong.

In doing so, he probably thought he could achieve some kind of redemption by admitting “Kung-fu kicks are bad, m’kay”, but to be brutally honest he only made things worse.

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=nigel+de+jong&iid=9335617″ src=”″ width=”500″ height=”368″ /]

So, what did the Rotherham referee say that was so bad? No, it’s nothing about the suggestion that de Jong should have seen red. Rather, it is the somewhat misguided logic which Webb claims led him to issue a yellow in the first place. Here’s what he said:

“I could see the foot was high and from Alonso’s reaction there must have been some contact even though I couldn’t see the contact, and being 25 minutes into a World Cup final I wasn’t prepared to guess.

“I wasn’t prepared to fill in the blanks in my head to say that was possibly a red-card offence, I wanted to base it on what we could see so therefore I decided to show a yellow card.”

Remarkably no one seems to have picked Webb up on the fact that he issued a card without actually seeing the incident – why is this the case?

Is it because Xabi Alonso is such a paragon of virtue; that when he goes down like he has been shot, he has actually been shot? Like here, or here.

If, like Webb claims, a referee doesn’t see an incident, there is absolutely no case for issuing a card of any colour on the basis of guesswork. It is such flawed logic which leads to decisions like this:

Next time Howard, if you haven’t seen the incident don’t even show a yellow. That will make things easier when it comes to explaining your thought process nearly six weeks later.


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