June 6, 2023

The FA are set to make an announcement on Thursday confirming that Craig Pawson will referee Chelsea’s clash with Liverpool

Craig Pawson will reportedly referee the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool on May 14. The 43-year-old official has already been informed and it’s likely that his selection for the game will be announced later on Thursday.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Pawson will take charge of the second meeting between the two clubs in a cup final this season, they met in the Carabao Cup’s showpiece in February with Liverpool triumphing on penalties after an entertaining goalless draw.

The Yorkshireman is one of ten FIFA-ranked referees in the select group one list in the top flight, that makes him the most senior of the Premier League’s officials not to have refereed an FA Cup final. Being awarded English football’s showpiece event is generally regarded as the peak of a referee’s career; however, Howard Webb and Mark Clatenburg also went on to officiate in Champions League, European Championship and World Cup finals.

Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor hold the distinction of being awarded two FA Cup finals each, both were given the honour for a second time in two years due to the fact that the final was played with no fans in attendance due to lockdown restrictions in 2020 and with reduced capacity last year. And it was deemed unfair for the officials to have their one opportunity at refereeing the final without a capacity crowd.

Pawson took charge of Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat at Manchester City in January with the Blues receiving the only two bookings of the contest. He also officiated in Liverpool’s trips to Leeds and West Ham, showing a yellow card piece to Fabinho and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Next month’s clash at Wembley promises to be a tight encounter with Liverpool and Chelsea drawing both league fixtures this season, and penalties being needed to settle the Carabao Cup in February. Pawson and his team will attend a ‘Eve of the final rally’ at the Kennington Oval the night before the game.

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