The UEFA Referees Committee has announced that Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers will officiate the Euro 2020 final between Italy and England on Sunday 11 July. The final will be held at Wembley Stadium at 8pm.
The 48-year-old Dutchman, an international referee since 2006, will be the first referee of all time from the Netherlands to take charge of a European Championship final.
Kuipers was a member of the referees’ team at Euro 2012, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
So far at this year’s Euros he has refereed two group stage matches, and the quarter-final between Czech Republic and Denmark.
Kuipers is hoping – you’d imagine – that refereeing England in the final will not come with the same level of controversy that has since marred their semi-final.
A controversial penalty was awarded in extra-time, which captain Harry Kane scored off the rebound to take England into their first ever European Championship final.
Ex-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told beIN SPORTS: “I don’t know why the VAR didn’t ask him to go. For me, it was no penalty, no. I think that VAR has let the referee down, not Denmark. Denmark is a bit unfortunate.”
However, it was not just the penalty that has aroused controversy. After second inspection it showed that a second ball was on the pitch whilst Sterling was brought down.
According to the 2020/21 FIFA Laws of the Game, feferee Danny Makkelie must have stopped play due to the stray ball, ONLY if he felt that second ball was affecting play.
Another highlighted incident came during the penalty itself.
Whilst Danish keeper Kasper Schmeichel was preparing to face Kane’s spot-kick, an England fan shone a bright green laser pen in Schmeichel’s face.
England have subsequently been charged by UEFA for the incident.
Emotions run high during any semi-final and the decisions will likely be debated long after the tournament ends.
And there will be even more debate if there are similarly contentious decisions that impact whether or not football comes home on Sunday.