Michael Oliver will referee the FA Cup final between Manchester United and Chelsea.
The Football Association announced on Tuesday that the 33-year-old from Durham would take charge of the showpiece match at Wembley, which will kick-off at 5.15pm on Saturday, May 19.
Michael Oliver was at the centre of controversy after his decision enabled Cristiano Ronaldo to put Madrid through to the semifinals 4-3 on aggregate.
The 33-year-old was heavily criticised by Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who was sent off in the aftermath of the penalty award. Buffon told reporters after the match that Oliver had “a garbage bin for a heart,” while threats and abuse directed toward him and his wife, also a referee, was “strongly condemned” by UEFA.
He will be assisted by Lee Betts and Ian Hussin, with Lee Mason as the fourth official. Neil Swarbrick will be the first video assistant referee (VAR) in FA Cup Final history.
Michael Oliver told the official FA website that the support he had received in the aftermath of the Champions League final had boosted him.
“It was a weird few days,” he said. “But it was nice that so many people, both within the game and outside the game, were keen to offer their support.
“It was quite humbling, actually, and it meant a lot. I had people coming up to me in the street and people from inside the game were sending me messages of support. It’s a nice thing to know I’ve got that backing.”
He said he had been “very proud and humbled to receive the call” telling him he was taking charge of the cup final.
“As your career progresses it becomes a realistic target, but it’s not a call you ever expect to take,” he said. “This opportunity only comes around once in a referee’s career.”
Chairman of the FA Referees’ Committee David Elleray backed Oliver to be able to handle what is expected to also be a lively encounter on the touchline between rival managers Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.
“Over a number of years, Michael has shown that he has a wise and calm head on relative youthful shoulders and he is an excellent role model for young referees,” said Elleray, himself the FA Cup final referee in 1994.
“Michael has shown that he is capable of controlling the most important matches in Europe, and in England, and we have every confidence that he and his team will enhance what promises to be an enthralling encounter.”
Both Manchester United and Chelsea will receive some 28,000 tickets for the final, which represents around 80 per cent of the seats available at the national stadium.
Ticket prices will range from £45 to £145 for adults, with concessions also available.
The FA confirmed Chelsea fans would occupy the east end of Wembley, with United in the west end, which has been “determined by the travel requirements of the majority of each club’s supporters”.
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