PARIS, France, July 8- Mark Clattenburg will take charge of Sunday’s European Championship final between France and Portugal.
The appointment completes an unprecedented treble for the 41-year-old referee, who officiated both the FA Cup and Champions League finals in May.
Clattenburg received rave reviews for his performance in the all-Madrid European final, particularly for the manner in which he contemptuously ignored Real defender Pepe’s play-acting.
And now the Durham official could find himself handling the same player again in the Stade de France, with Pepe battling to be fit for Portugal’s showdown with the hosts after missing his country’s semi-final victory over Wales with a thigh problem.
Clattenburg was on a three-man shortlist to be afforded this year’s blue riband appointment, with Hungary’s Viktor Kassai, and Milorad Mazic, the Serb official, also in the reckoning.
But Wales’ defeat by Portugal in Wednesday’s semi-final opened the way for the Englishman, who would have missed out if any of the home nations had reached Sunday’s competition climax.
Clattenburg’s own career has not been without controversy.
The FA stood him down for one month in 2012 after Chelsea had complained about his use of ‘inappropriate language’ towards John Obi Mikel in a match with Manchester United. He was later cleared of any wrongdoing.
And the referee was subject to ferocious criticism for his officiating of a Merseyside derby encounter in 2007.He was subsequently not appointed to a match at Goodison Park for another six years.
But Clattenburg’s star, latterly, has been on the rise. He has support in high places, most notably from UEFA referees’ head honcho Pierluigi Collina.
Indeed, it required the Italian’s intervention for Clattenburg to be in France in the first place, with the English governing body having nominated Martin Atkinson as their representative at the tournament.
May’s Cup final between Manchester United and Crystal Palace was Clattenburg’s first in charge of English football’s showpiece occasion.
His decision in that match not to utilise the advantage rule when Connor Wickham sprung to his feet after being felled by United defender Chris Smalling was broadly criticised.
By contrast, in the high-octane atmosphere of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid’s Champions League final contest in Milan, Clattenburg struck the right note with his unfussy, authoritative demeanour.
This will be the first European Championship final overseen by an Englishman since 1964, when Arthur Holland was the man in the middle for Spain’s 2-1 victory over Russia in Madrid.
When he blows the first whistle on Sunday, Clattenburg will replicate the feat of Portuguese ref Pedro Proenca, who officiated Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League final triumph over Bayern Munich, and Spain’s subsequent European Championship final demolition of Italy.
Clattenburg will be joined in Paris by his usual assistants Simon Beck and Jake Collin, while Premier League referees Andre Marriner and Anthony Taylor will act as additional assistants.
Courtesy Daily Mail