Retired referee Howard Webb has admitted yet another error in judgment whilst he was active on the pitch.
The former top referee showed Netherlands international Nigel De Jong just a yellow card for his rough tackle on Spain international Xabi Alonso at the final of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
De Jong gave Alonso a karate kick in the chest but was only shown a warning despite the protests. The retired Webb disclosed that he is “gutted beyond belief” as the challenge deserved receiving marching orders. Webb made the revelations in his book “The Man in the Middle.” The autobiography made other revelations as well, but on the subject, Webb wrote
“Xabi Alonso headed the ball forward to David Villa but, as he did so, Nigel de Jong crashed into him,” Webb wrote. At that moment I’d been positioned just behind Alonso, about 10 yards away, so I hadn’t seen the actual point of impact or exactly how De Jong had connected.”
Webb added that it was a late move, hence the caution.
“However, I knew that it was a late and forceful challenge, and that it warranted a caution. None of my team spoke up on the radio to suggest otherwise, so I showed a yellow card for what I’d seen unfold before me: an untidy, reckless challenge from the Dutch midfielder.
“As I brandished the card, however, there was a furious reaction from the Spaniards, both on and off the field,” said Webb.
Webb also claimed the saw the tackle during the halftime, and felt terrible for missing a red card offence in a World Cup final.
De Jong played in the MLS where he has served several punishments for his rough tackles. He has sent a player to the wheelchair and has been banned retrospectively for games.