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Webb included as FIFA name World Cup referees

Referee Howard Webb looks on during the English Premier League soccer match between Cardiff City and West Bromwich Albion at Cardiff City St
Referee Howard Webb looks on during the English Premier League soccer match between Cardiff City and West Bromwich Albion at Cardiff City St

By Brian Homewood

BERNE (Reuters) - World Cup final referee Howard Webb is among the 25 named by FIFA on Wednesday for this year's tournament in Brazil.

The list included nine referees from Europe, five from South America, four from Asia, three each from Africa and CONCACAF and one from Oceania. Each referee was selected as a part of a team including two linesmen.

Felix Brych was picked from Germany, Carlos Velasco from Spain and Nicola Rizzoli from Italy, while there were no referees from France. Sandro Ricci was named as Brazil's referee and Nestor Pitana from Argentina.

Brych was involved in the so-called phantom goal match during a Bundesliga clash between Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim in October.

He awarded a Stefan Kiessling goal for Leverkusen after failing to see that the ball had entered the net through a hole in the side.

Englishman Webb handed out 14 yellow cards and one red in the Spain-Netherlands final in 2010, although he was widely criticized for failing to send off any Dutch players in a wild first half as Spain went on to win 1-0 after extra time.

"FIFA has implemented a comprehensive program to ensure that the referees for its flagship competition are in peak condition," world soccer's governing body said in a statement.

"The referees selected for the World Cup in Brazil have been chosen based especially on their personality and their quality in football understanding by being able to read the game and the teams' tactical approaches towards each game."

Referees: Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan), Yuichi Nishimura (Japan), Nawaf Shukralla (Bahrain), Benjamin Williams (Australia), Noumandiez Doue (Ivory Coast), Bakary Papa Gassama (Gambia), Djamel Haimoudi (Algeria), Joel Aguilar (El Salvador), Mark Geiger (United States), Marco Antonio Rodriguez (Mexico), Enrique Osses (Chile), Nestor Pitana (Argentina), Sandro Ricci (Brazil), Wilmar Roldan (Colombia), Carlos Vera (Ecuador), Peter O'Leary (New Zealand), Felix Brych (Germany), Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey), Jonas Eriksson (Sweden), Bjorn Kuipers (Netherlands), Milorad Mazic (Serbia), Pedro Proenca (Portugal), Nicola Rizzoli (Italy), Carlos Velasco (Spain), Howard Webb (England)

(Reporting by Brian Homewood, additional reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by John O'Brien)

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