Euro 2020: Kuipers to become first Dutch referee for Euro final

Sunday’s final may well be the last appearance of Bjorn Kuipers at an international tournament.

Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers reacts during the FIFA World Cup 2018 quarter final soccer match between Sweden and England in Samara, Russia, 07 July 2018.
Kuipers, 48, has previously officiated two Europa League finals and one Champions League final [File: Peter Powell/EPA]

Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers will take charge of the 2020 European Championship final between England and Italy on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

The first Dutch referee to arbiter the Euros final, Kuipers began officiating in the Dutch leagues before working his way up the ranks to become an international referee in 2006.

Sunday’s dream appointment will be his seventh UEFA competition final appearance.

He has previously officiated two Europa League finals and one Champions League final and was also part of the referees’ team at Euro 2012 and 2016 and the last two World Cups.

At this year’s Euros, Kuipers, 48, has refereed two group stage matches – Denmark vs Belgium and Slovakia vs Spain – and the quarter-final between the Czech Republic and Denmark.

Kuipers will be joined at Sunday’s final by Dutch assistants Sander van Roekel and Erwin Zeinstra, while Spain’s Carlos del Cerro Grande will be the fourth official.

Bastian Dankert was named the video assistant referee and will work alongside fellow German assistants Christian Gittelmann and Marco Fritz and the Netherlands’ Pol van Boekel.

Crown on career

Kuipers, who is from the east Netherlands city of Oldenzaal, was already a candidate to referee the final at the 2014 World Cup, but then had to go home because the Dutch national team reached the semi-finals in Brazil, an unfortunate coincidence he still sees as the biggest disappointment of his career.

As the oldest arbitrator at this European Championship, Sunday’s match may well be Kuipers’s final appearance at an international tournament, the crown on a brilliant career as a referee.

Prior to the tournament, Kuipers said he did not know whether he would continue after the summer.

“I’ll see, I still feel very fit,” he said. “I’ll let my decision mainly depend on feeling. How things are going at home, how the European Championship will unfold.

“After the European Championships, I will go on holiday and then see what choices and possibilities present themselves.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies