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Why you should hope someone like Howard Webb refs your World Cup game

May 28, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT


Theoretically, everyone is in the fitness form of their lives for a World Cup. After all, it’s the biggest tournament in the world.

And it stands to reason that the referees are amped up for the event as well, ready for anything including the brutal temperatures and humidity that is summer in Brazil.

Howard Webb is no exception to this idea, as the 42-year-old English referee is beating the you-kn0w-what out of his body in preparation for the South American climate.

From the BBC’s Ben Smith:

There have been no directives from Fifa, football’s world governing body, to prepare for the conditions, but, for the past two weeks, Webb has reported to this temperature-controlled chamber and pushed himself to the limits of his physical fitness.

The chamber has been set to 40C with 80% humidity as Webb begins the first of 20 sprints, each 150m in distance.

It is brutal to watch, but he would not have it any other way.

“I want to be as prepared as I can,” he says. “Coming to the chamber here gives me that chance. If it gives me a small advantage, if it means I can perform to my potential there, then why not do it?”

You may not love Webb as an official, but I’ll take this guy’s preparation over many others. That isn’t to say other officials aren’t grinding out workouts in their own personal saunas, but it’s easy to forget just how many folks have to be on their physical, mental and emotional A-games for the tournament.

  1. ryanviohl - May 28, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    He might be in better shape than all or most of the other officials, but that still doesn’t change the fact that he’s terrible at his job and should be nowhere near the World Cup.

  2. dws110 - May 28, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    Never underestimate the tactical advantages provided by a ref who lets you plant your studs straight into the opposition’s sternum.

    • Comrade23 - May 28, 2014 at 3:11 PM

      That performace alone should have ruled him out of the World Cup. His fitness levels are not in question, but his decision-making and the courage to make the right call even if unpopular is very much in doubt, and it is this that makes a great referee, less so distance running.

      • adroste13 - May 29, 2014 at 8:59 AM

        Let’s just call it for what it is and what needs to be addressed….he’s a horrible ref!

  3. Comrade23 - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Lot of thumbs-downs for comments slating Webb. Man U fans, you know he isn’t ACTUALLY employed by the club, right? He just helps out for free.

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