Europa League Final referee announced

By Alex Byrom
Referees Editor

The UEFA Referees Committee today announced the referee for the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League final between Club Atlético de Madrid and Athletic Club Bilbao.

The match will be handled by 42-year-old German referee Wolfgang Stark, who has been a German Football Association referee since 1994, took charge of 53 matches in the 2. Bundesliga, before he stepped up to the top flight in 1997.

He has been an international referee since 1999 and has officiated in a total of 89 UEFA matches in his refereeing career.

Wolfgang Stark, the German representative at Euro 2012 has handled 18 UEFA Europa League matches to-date, two of which were this season: the Round of 32 second leg between Manchester City and FC Porto, which the English side won 4-0 and the quarter-final first leg between Sporting Lisbon and FC Metalist Kharkiv, in which the Portuguese side – beaten in the Semi-Final – won 2-1.

Also, he has handled 52 UEFA Champions League matches since 2001, which is the 3rd highest by any of the current UEFA listed officials.

He also refereed at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. 

The Europa League final assistants helping Referee Wolfgang Stark: Mike Pickel (top) and Jans-Hendrick Salver (bottom). 

This season, he has refereed a total of 32 games – 19 Bundesliga games. He has refereed 3 Champions League games: Ajax 0-0 Olympique Lyonnais back in September; Inter Milan’s 2-1 win over Lille at the start of November and Barcelona’s 3-2 win at the San Siro against AC Milan in late November.

In addition, he refereed 2 European Championship matches, including the match when Montenegro came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with England, when he dismissed Wayne Rooney.  

In his 32 games this season, he has shown 115 yellow cards and 10 red cards at an average of 3.9 per game.

He has come under fire in some big games - especially in the Champions League. When Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan knocked out his former club Chelsea in 2010, he denied the hosts 2 clear penalties; in the 1st leg Semi-Final of 2011, at the Bernabeau, between Real Madrid and Barcelona, he wronlgy issued a red card to Pepe when he hardly touched Dani Alves. Barcelona went on to win 2-0 and go through to the final, where they beat Manchester United at Wembley. 

This season, in Barca's 3-2 win at AC Milan he gave, as many described it as a "soft penalty", and then also booked the wrong player after the incident: it should have been Aqualani, which would have seen him then sent off. 

At the final, Stark will be assisted by his fellow countrymen Jan-Hendrik Salver and Mike Pickel whilst the 4th Official will be Stéphane Lannoy of France, who has just missed out on a final himself after impressing the assessors’. The two additional assistant referees, Florian Meyer and Deniz Aytekin, are both from Germany as well.

A German reserve assistant referee – Mark Borsch - completes the line-up of the refereeing team.

The final is to be played, for the first time, at the National Arena in Bucharest, Romania, on Wednesday (9th May), kicking-off at 19.45 BST (20:45 CET) and will be live on Channel 5 and in their HD coverage

Athletico Madrid vs Club Athletic Bilbao   KO: 7:45pm Live on Channel 5/HD                                                                                   Referee: WOLFGANG STARK (Germany)                                                                                                                                                           Assistants: Mike Pickel; Jan-Hendrik Salver                                                                                                                                             4th Official: Stephane Lannoy (France)                                                                                                                                                        Extra Assistants: Florian Meyer; Deniz Ayetkin                                                                                                                                         Reserve Assistant Referee: Mark Borsch (Germany)

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