It was an ‘arrestable offence’, I should have sent De Jong off – Webb regrets

Former referee Howard Webb has admitted he should have sent off Nigel de Jong in the World Cup final between Spain and Netherlands in 2010.


De Jong was shown just a yellow card by Webb after a dangerous ‘kung-fu’ tackle on Xabi Alonso in the 28th minute.

Webb said he would have sent the Dutchman off if he had seen the incident clearly.

“I still thought I got it right on the pitch,” he told BT Sport. “So I get back into the dressing room and my assistant referee has gone to his pocket and got his phone out, and his face dropped.


“I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ and he said, ‘De Jong should have been red carded, the guy from the referee headquarters is saying he should have been red carded’.

“I went, ‘You’re joking?’. I got my phone out, a mate of mine in the police said ‘Howard, it’s not a red card, it’s an arrestable offence’.

“Of course [I should have sent him off]. Even in the first minute of a World Cup final, if I’ve seen it clearly enough.”

Spain went on to win the showpiece event thanks to a goal from Andres Iniesta in the 116th minute.

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