Webb admits Spurs penalty error

Former referee Howard Webb has admitted that he wanted to see Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo miss a penalty during their home game against Tottenham Hotspur in 2009 after he realised he made the wrong decision.

Webb, who was a highly-regarded official and took charge of more than 500 Premier League and Football League matches, was accused by rival supporters of being a secret Manchester United fan due to some of his decisions involving the Premier League giants.

His decision to award Michael Carrick a penalty in 2009 for what was a fair challenge by Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes has proved to be one of his biggest career regrets.

Webb gave a penalty but now criticises his decision, saying: ‘I could see Carrick got there first and then the goalkeeper clattered into him. It was really an easy penalty award.

‘I was expecting the usual cursory appeal that you get from the players, not the huge look of absolute astonishment and amazement and incredulousness on the look of Gomes.’

Webb says it was obvious he made the wrong decision as Gomes got his hand on the ball to push out of the path of Carrick before the midfielder took a tumble.

He said: ‘It was obvious within seconds I’d got the decision wrong. There was something more to this.

‘I was left with the decision I had taken with no independent evidence that I’d got it wrong other than a gut feeling, and I was just hoping that Ronaldo would miss the penalty. But he didn’t.’

Ronaldo stepped up to the penalty spot and scored, sending the ball straight down the middle to make the score 2-1, before United then went on to win the clash 5-2 at Old Trafford.

Webb, meanwhile, went on to officiate two World Cups, two European Championships and the Champions League.

But that did not stop English fans questioning his integrity throughout his career.

Rival fans constantly called into question Webb’s professionalism and Liverpool’s Ryan Babel was even fined £10,000 for linking to a picture of him mocked up in a United shirt on Twitter following their FA Cup defeat in 2011.

When previously questioned on his supposed preference towards United, Webb said: ‘There’s no element of truth in it.

‘It’s not something that affected me or played on my mind at all. It wasn’t hurtful. Much of it is tongue-in-cheek, of course.

(mail online)

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