The FA Cup
Atkinson takes Cup Final whistle
Martin Atkinson to referee FA Cup Final.
The Football Association has confirmed that Martin Atkinson will take charge of this year’s FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Stoke City at Wembley Stadium on 14 May.
The 40-year-old referee from Wakefield will be assisted by Worcestershire’s Adam Watts and Bedfordshire’s Simon Beck.
Lee Probert from Wiltshire will be the fourth official while Liverpool’s Jake Collin is a reserve.
Atkinson, who was the fourth official at The FA Cup Final in 2009, says it’s a dream come true finally to step up as the man in the middle.
“It’s such a massive game domestically and I’m very proud and honoured to be appointed," Atkinson told TheFA.com.
“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.”
Atkinson can still recall his first cup final as a teenage junior referee, adding: “It was a final for the Spen Valley League which is based in the Dewsbury and Heckmondwike area of West Yorkshire.
“I started off with those sorts of games, built up some experience there and then just moved my way up through the different levels of district football.”
Atkinson’s career has certainly moved through the gears since taking charge of those local games for the West Riding FA having refereed the 2006 Community Shield at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and the 2009 FA Cup Semi Final between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.
He was also the fourth official at last season's Champions' League final in Madrid.
More recently he took charge of Schalke 04’s Champions League Quarter-Final 5-2 triumph over Inter Milan at the San Siro.
“My team on the day are all FIFA international officials and we’ve all worked together before so it’s great that they’re being recognised and I’m delighted for them,” said Atkinson of Watt, Beck, Probert and Collin.
“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.”