Martin Atkinson Given Green Light To Referee FA Cup Final

Yorkshireman given Wembley honour of officiating game between Eastlands and Britannia Stadium clubs.

The Football Association has awarded Martin Atkinson the honour of refereeing the FA Cup final at Wembley on May 14.

The 40-year-old will take charge of the historic event between Manchester City and Stoke City with Adam Watts and Simon Beck as his assistants.

The Yorkshireman has been embroiled in controversy after being the victim of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s wrath.

The Scot was angered by Atkinson’s decision not to give Chelsea’s David Luiz a second booking in the 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge in March.

The Red Devils boss was found guilty of improper conduct and handed a five-match touchline ban and fined £30,000.

Atkinson refereed the 2009 FA Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea and was the fourth official for the final that year.

He was also the fourth official at last season’s Champions League final and took charge of Schalke’s 5-2 victory over Inter Milan in this year’s quarter-final first leg.

But the FA Cup final will be the biggest match of his career and he says he will be asking his colleagues for advice on how to handle the big occasion.

“It’s such a massive game domestically and I’m very proud and honoured to be appointed,” Atkinson said.

“I started refereeing when I was 15 and never thought back then that I’d be walking out at as the FA Cup final referee at Wembley Stadium one day.”

“I’m great friends with Howard Webb so I’ll be speaking to the likes of him, David Elleray and Mike Riley about refereeing the FA Cup final.

“They’ve got great experience in those sort of games and will really help me prepare for 14 May.”

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