NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.
The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.
Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”
Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.
On Thursday the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup kicks off in Morocco, as the best teams from each continent on the planet come together for the eight-game tournament which runs from December 10-20.
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The unique tournament began in 2000, but then went on a hiatus between 2001-04 before being resurrected as an annual affair from 2005 onwards.
With the play-off game kicking things off on Thursday’s here’s a primer on what to expect in Morocco over the next 10 days.
The winners of the Oceania, CONCACAF, UEFA, AFC and CAF Champions League’s plus the Copa Libertadores winner and the reigning champion of the host nation compete in this tournament. There is a play-off game between the Oceania champions (Auckland City) and the Moroccan champions (Moghreb Tetouan) before the other continental champions arrive. Here’s the eight teams who qualified…
- Real Madrid (UEFA Champions)
- San Lorenzeo (CONMEBOL Champions)
- Western Sydney Wanderers (AFC Champions)
- Es Setif (CAF Champions)
- Cruz Azul (CONCACAF Champions)
- Auckland City (OFC Champions)
- Moghreb Tetouan (CAF, host nation Champions)
As we mentioned, the tournament will take place in Morocco. Games will be split between two stadiums. One venue is in Rabat at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, while the other is in the capital Marrakesh at the Stade de Marrakech.
So when can we watch this crazy tournament sandwiched into the domestic season just before the festive period? Here’s the schedule, as the UEFA and CONMEBOL winners get a bye straight into the semifinal as the highest ranked continents in global soccer.
- Play-off round: Match 1 – Moghreb Tetouan vs. Auckand City, Rabat, Dec. 10, 2:30 p.m. ET
- Quarter final: Match 2 – Es Setif vs. Winner match 1, Rabat. Dec. 13, 11 a.m. ET
- Quarter final: Match 3 – Cruz Azul vs. Western Sydney Wanderers, Rabat, Dec. 13, 2:30 p.m. ET
- Semi final: Match 4 – Winner match 3 vs. Real Madrid, Rabat, Dec. 16, 2:30 p.m. ET
- Semi final: Match 6 – San Lorenzo vs. Winner match 3, Marrakesh, Dec. 17, 2:30 p.m. ET
- Fifth place match: Match 5 – Loser match 2 vs. Loser match 3, Marrakesh, Dec. 17, 11:30 a.m. ET
- Third place match: Match 7 – Loser match 4 vs. Loser match 6, Marrakesh, Dec. 20, 11:30 a.m. ET
- Final: Match 8 – Winner match 4 vs. Winner match 6, Marrakesh, Dec. 20, 2:30 p.m. ET