LEE Probert will take charge of the 2014 FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembley Stadium next month.
Probert will complete a hat-trick of appearances at the national stadium after previously refereeing the 2010 FA Trophy Final and was fourth official for the 2011 FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Stoke City.
The 41-year-old, born in Gloucestershire but based in Wiltshire, will be joined by linesmen Jake Collin (Liverpool) and Mick McDonough (Tyne & Wear).
Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) will be the fourth official and Simon Bennett (Staffordshire) the reserve assistant referee on Saturday, May 17 – a week after the Premier League season ends.
With referees only allowed to take charge of the FA Cup Final once in their careers, the appointment is a great honour for Probert.
He said: “To be given the opportunity to walk out as the referee for an FA Cup final is the highest accolade in English football. It’s a massive honour and I am absolutely delighted.
“It still hasn’t really sunk in to be honest. When I got the phone call, I have to say I did shed a tear and look to the sky.
“The first person I thought about was my dad, who I lost six years ago. He was always there to support me throughout my career and it’s payback for all his hard work, taking me here, there and everywhere, encouraging me to never give up.
“When I walk out on 17 May, I know he’ll be chuffed to bits.”
Probert’s early career saw him progress through to the Conference South before making the step up to the Football League in 1998.
He has been part of the Select Group of referees since 2007 and in 2010 became a FIFA-listed referee, making him eligible to officiate UEFA Internationals and matches in the Champions League and Europa League.
The official has overseen 27 domestic games so far this term, brandishing 48 yellow cards and five reds while awarding six penalties.
He took charge of Hull’s fifth round tie away at Brighton, booking Robert Koren and Sone Aluko in one of three FA Cup appointments in 2013-14.
Probert had to apologise to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger after advising Mike Dean to send off the Frenchman at Old Trafford in August 2009 but the Gunners are unbeaten in the last five games he has refereed, including three wins and a draw this term.
In contrast, Hull have not won any of their last six matches with Probert in the middle, stretching back to 2009.
Kevin Small, Referee Development Officer at the Wiltshire FA, said: “We are very proud that Lee is a Wiltshire referee and regularly use his achievements in the Premier League or as a FIFA referee to inspire our younger referees to aim high in their careers.
“We are delighted with the news that Lee has been selected to referee this season’s FA Cup Final. It’s a great honour for him and for our county and he becomes only the second Wiltshire official to be picked to referee The Final, the first being Bill Russell in 1924.
“We hope Lee has a great game and enjoys his day at Wembley.”
The Gunners face the Tigers with kick-off at 17:00 BST and live coverage broadcast on both ITV and BT Sport.