Referee Webb honoured by Queen

LONDON - World Cup final referee Howard Webb has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours.

Webb became the first Englishman to referee the World Cup final since 1974 when he took charge of the showpiece between Spain and the Netherlands.

It turned out to be a challenging occasion for the 39-year-old policeman who handed out 13 yellow cards in a bad-tempered match and sent off Dutchman John Heitinga.

"It has been an unbelievable 12 months and this honour tops off an amazing 2010," Webb, who also took charge of the Champions League final told the BBC.

"I always say refereeing is about your team, and without the support and ability of my assistants Darren Cann and Mike Mullarkey I would not have been selected for the final. This honour is for them too."

Europe's Ryder Cup hero Graeme McDowell and former England rugby union international Mike Catt were also awarded MBEs.