FIFA president Sepp Blatter defends World Cup 2010 final referee Howard Webb

Lack of fair play to blame not Webb
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has refused to condemn under fire referee Howard Webb for his performance during the World Cup 2010 final.

Webb handed out a record 14 yellow cards and one red card during the bad tempered match between the Netherlands and Spain. After Vicente del Bosque's men claimed a 1-0 victory, the Dutch were quick to criticise the Rotherham-born official.

Speaking to the press, however, Blatter slammed the lack of fair play on show. He said: "The final was not exactly what I expected in terms of fair play.

"It's not up to me judge the performances of the officials, I can only say it was a very hard task that the referee trio had on the field of play.

"It was not easy, really not easy and they were really not helped in this task I can say.

"In football we have to live with the errors of players, and of referees. I don't think perfection exists in this world."

The supremo did take time to praise the Spaniards for their triumph.

"I have to compliment the winners - the Spanish national team, La Roja," Blatter said.

"Finally we had a winner playing good football and maybe from a technical point of view there are maybe some questions but it's the (coach) who decides 'do we play to win or do we play not lose' and this will decide on whether we have spectacular or non-spectacular games."

Blatter also apologised again to Mexico and England after refereeing mistakes cost them crucial decisions. He refused to extend this to the Republic of Ireland after Thierry Henry's hand ball saw France qualify for South Africa ahead of them.

"This was a case that has happened in a preliminary competition and now we are at the end of the World Cup, and it is odious to reopen discussions," Blatter added.

"A goal was not given in a match between England and Germany and it went all around the world, it was like a cry, an alarm that something very, very important has happened.

"It was said 'will you reopen the file of technology?' and I have said 'yes - goal-line technology will be looked at again by the International FA Board', but only goal-line technology."
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