Norfolk’s Darren Cann to assist referee Howard Webb at 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil

Norfolk refereeing assistant Darren Cann (right) with referee Howard Webb (centre) and fellow assistant Michael Mullarkey, the same trio who officiated in the 2010 Fifa World Cup final. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Norfolk refereeing assistant Darren Cann (right) with referee Howard Webb (centre) and fellow assistant Michael Mullarkey, the same trio who officiated in the 2010 Fifa World Cup final. Picture: Nick Potts/PA

Thursday, January 16, 2014
6:30 AM

Norfolk refereeing assistant Darren Cann has again been chosen to represent England in officiating at the World Cup.

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Cann, from Poringland, will be part of a trio which includes referee Howard Webb and assistant Mike Mullarkey for the tournament in Brazil this summer.

Cann said: “I am really thrilled to be selected once again for the World Cup.

“It is an honour to represent Norfolk, and indeed England, at any tournament. The fact that this one is being held in Brazil, who are hosting their first World Cup since 1950, is extra special.

“I am very grateful to my family and friends for all their support over the years in helping me realise this dream, my selection wouldn’t have been possible without them.”

The refereeing team have already been involved in many high-profile games including the 2010 World Cup final, when Spain beat Holland 1-0 at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, in what was a bad-tempered affair, with Webb brandishing 14 yellow cards.

That included nine for Holland who also had John Heitinga sent-off in extra-time. Controversy erupted when Nigel de Jong was not sent off for a high challenge on Xabi Alonso with FIFA President Sepp Blatter later saying that the refereeing team had a “very hard task”.

As well as the World Cup final, Cann and his team also officiated Spain’s opening game of the tournament against Switzerland; Italy against Slovakia and Brazil’s second-round match against Chile. They were also the men in charge during the 2010 Champions League final when Inter Milan beat Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Bernabeu in Madrid, in Jose Mourinho’s final game as Inter coach.

Cann was also an assistant in the 2007 Championship play-off-final at Wembley, in which Derby beat West Brom 1-0.

The 44-year-old was originally a promising young player in the Norwich City youth team in 1987, and later joined Crystal Palace’s youth set-up.

Once he was released, he went on a refereeing course, and became a referee in 1991. Within 10 years, he was officiating in the Football League, before becoming a FIFA assistant aeferee in 2007, and is now a Select Group assistant referee as well.

The father-of-two also formerly worked at the Lloyds TSB branch in the Heartsease area of Norwich but gave the job up to concentrate on refereeing. Following their success in being chosen to officiate the World Cup final, Cann, Webb and Mullarkey were all awarded the PFA Merit Award 2011.

After being made an MBE in the 2011 honours list, Webb said: “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, so this honour is for them too and it would be lovely if they could be recognised in a similar way at some point in the future.”

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