FA Cup final referee. . . who’s it going to be?

Featured content, News

Michael Oliver

One man who has been there and done it is KEITH HACKETT.

I can remember in April 1981 receiving THAT phone call from the Referees’ Officer at The Football Association. It was to inform me of my appointment to officiate the 100th FA Cup final. I was stunned by the news, knowing that there were at least ten other referees who could have been given the honour. In the coming days another referee will receive that same incredible call.

The number to select from is frankly much smaller and perhaps the competition narrowed by the fact that the selection is made from within the limits of the group of professional referees. This group is further reduced by the more recent tradition of a referee only being appointed to one FA Cup final in their career

Effectively, this then rules out Jon Moss (2015), Andre Marriner (2013), Mike Dean (2007), Martin Atkinson(2011) and the retiring Mark Clattenburg (2016).

So who are the front runners?

Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor must be the two leading contenders given the fact that both of them are keen to be promoted to the UEFA Elite Panel which opens the door for them to officiate Champions League games.

Alternatively, sometimes the Referees Committee offer the final to someone who has given long service to the game. This might just open the door to a surprise appointment and  Lee Mason, Mike Jones, Kevin Friend and Neil Swarbrick might feel that they are in with a chance. Remember how, in 2015, Moss was given the nod over the in form and world ranked Clattenburg.

I have at the moment ruled out Craig Pawson because of his semi-final appointment and Bobby Madley, who in some respects should be another contender given the advances that he has made in his career in the season to date. The FA, however, often seem to indicate that his time will come.

So for me the right choice would be Oliver or Taylor who will be given the honour of joining an elite list of referees appointed to this great game.

Let me know who you would select.