Michael Oliver to referee FA Cup final

Michael Oliver to referee FA Cup final

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.

In the recent Champions League quarter-final second leg between Real Madrid and Juventus, Oliver awarded a disputed injury-time penalty before also sending off Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon for his furious protests.

Following the fall-out from the tie, which the Spaniards won after Cristiano Ronaldo converted the spot-kick, both Oliver and his wife Lucy were targets of abuse by social media trolls.

Oliver will be assisted by Lee Betts and Ian Hussin, with Lee Mason appointed as the fourth official.

"I was very proud and humbled to receive the phone call. When you start out, taking charge of the (FA) Cup final is not something you even think about," Oliver said on the FA's website.

"As your career progresses it becomes a realistic target, but it's not a call you ever expect to take, but it is a great one. This opportunity only comes around once in a referee's career."

The FA also confirmed the video assistant referee would again be in place, with Neil Swarbrick and Mick McDonough watching from Stockley Park.

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".

- PA

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