MICHAEL Oliver has received the honour of refereeing the Community Shield between Arsenal and Manchester City next month, the Football Association have confirmed.
The 29-year-old will become the youngest official to take charge of the traditional curtain-raiser to the domestic season at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, August 10.
The Northumberland whistler will be assisted by linesmen Stuart Burt (Northamptonshire) and Darren England (South Yorkshire).
Jon Moss (West Yorkshire) will be the fourth official, with Harry Lennard (West Sussex) on standby as the reserve assistant.
It’s another prestigious appointment for Oliver as FA Cup winners Arsenal take on Premier League champions Manchester City to signal the start of the 2014-15 campaign.
It will be his fifth trip to the national stadium with his previous visits including two FA Cup semi-finals and a League Two Play-Off Final as a referee and the fourth official for the 2013 Capital One Cup Final as Swansea thrashed Bradford 5-0.
Oliver was also the fourth official for last season’s Shield fixture between Manchester United and Wigan, which was refereed by County Durham colleague and close friend Mark Clattenburg.
After receiving the news, a delighted Oliver told the FA.com: “I was delighted to be told I’d been chosen to referee this year’s FA Community Shield.
“It’s a game I’ve followed for many years both as a fan and as a referee. It’s still a competitive fixture and everyone, from the fans and players involved, look forward to this fixture at the start of the new season.
“For me, Wembley is up there in the top two or three best places in the world to referee. It’s our national stadium and where we have all our major finals and where England play but also when you travel around the world, it’s a stadium that everyone knows.
“It has a great atmosphere and is a great place to officiate.”
The Ashington-based referee, inspired by his father Clive who is a retired National List official, became the youngest to officiate in the Premier League when making his debut in August 2010 – which was delayed by three months because of injury.
The merited call-up came after spending just three seasons in the Football League following an unprecedented meteoric rise through the lower divisions.
He has quickly established himself as an accomplished top-flight official with a confident and assured but less flamboyant approach and has attracted more praise than criticism.
As a reflection of his outstanding progress, Oliver was considered for several key clashes in 2013-14 including a first Manchester derby at Old Trafford and North London derby at the Emirates.
He is now a Fifa Category One official following his promotion in 2012 and has taken charge of several Europa League and international matches.
Last season, Oliver brandished 141 yellow cards and four red cards in 39 matches in all competitions, awarding 12 penalties in the process.
And now, the start of what could be another ground-breaking campaign for the country’s most promising young official will begin at the 90,000-seater home of English football.
The annual contest – sponsored by McDonalds, which raises money for charity and grassroots football – will be screened exclusively live on BT Sport with kick-off at 15:00 BST.
OLIVER’S PREVIOUS WEMBLEY TRIPS:
2009 League Two Play-Off Final
Millwall 2-3 Scunthorpe United
2013 Capital One Cup Final
Bradford City 0-5 Swansea City
2012-13 FA Cup Semi-Final
Wigan Athletic 2-0 Millwall
2013 FA Community Shield
Manchester United 2-0 Wigan Athletic
2013-14 FA Cup Semi-Final
Arsenal 1-1 Wigan Athletic (Arsenal win 4-2 on penalties)