Greg Dyke hails "world-class" English referees

FA Chairman Greg Dyke during a media conference on September 4, 2013
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FA chairman Greg Dyke heaps praise on the state of English refereeing following Howard Webb's first appointment at this year's World Cup.

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has described England's officials as "world class" after Howard Webb was handed his first match at the World Cup today.

Webb will be in action for the first time in Brazil when Colombia take on Ivory Coast in Group C on Thursday, joining assistants Mike Mullarkey and Darren Cann four years after taking charge of the final in South Africa.

Dyke took the opportunity to praise the state of English refereeing, pointing out that Webb is not the only top-quality official in the domestic game.

"Howard Webb, Mike Mullarkey and Darren Cann will be England's refereeing trio in Brazil and are rightly regarded as among the best in the world. Howard has taken charge of the biggest games around - not least the 2010 World Cup final, when he was ably assisted by Mike and Darren," Dyke told reporters.

"It is not only Howard. Mark Clattenburg just missed out on selection, having taken charge of the London 2012 Olympic men's final at Wembley along with Stephen Child and Simon Beck. There is a good depth to our leading referees' list. Sian Massey's emergence as a top Premier League assistant referee was furthered by her work at the FIFA Women's Under-17 World Cup in March which followed her appointment for last year's UEFA Women's Euro final in Sweden.

"At grassroots level, we recognise the need to encourage more referees and also to retain those who give their valuable time to the national game. This refereeing excellence is not a new phenomenon. No country has had more men take charge of the World Cup final than the FA's four. English refereeing is world class."

Ivory Coast and Colombia both won their opening matches of the tournament.

Mark Clattenburg
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