MARK Clattenburg, Martin Atkinson and Willie Collum are among a pool of 18 referees who have been selected by Uefa for the 2016 European Championships.
England are the only nation to be represented with two officials in Clattenburg and Atkinson, who were expected to be fighting for one place, while Collum has been preferred to fellow Scotsman Craig Thomson.
All three went to Euro 2012 as extra officials but will head to France next summer as three of seven referees making their major tournament debut in the middle.
Meanwhile, seven of the chosen officials also officiated at the 2014 World Cup including Italy’s Nicola Rizzoli, who took charge of Germany’s 1-0 extra-time win over Argentina in the final.
Cuneyt Cakir, Felix Brych, Jonas Eriksson, Bjorn Kuipers, Milorad Mazic and Carlos Velasco Carballo complete the list of officials heading to a second consecutive major finals.
Making their first tournament appearances are Poland’s Szymon Marciniak, Ovidiu Hategan of Romania, Russia’s Sergey Karasev, Pavel Kravolec of the Czech Republic, Norway’s Svein Oddvar Moen and Clement Turpin of the host nation France.
No Briton has refereed a European Championship final since Arthur Ellis and Arthur Holland took charge of the first two in 1960 and 1964.
England’s representative at the last six major tournaments – including two Confederations Cups – has been Howard Webb but he retired from active refereeing in August 2014 in order to support the progression of Premier League match officials.
On the decision to select Clattenburg and Atkinson, David Elleray – chairman of the FA referees’ committee and a member of the UEFA referee committee – believes it reflects the calibre of officials in the English game.
He told the FA website: “That UEFA has made an exception to the convention that no country has more than one referee at a Euro finals is indicative of how highly Martin and Mark are regarded throughout Europe, not just by UEFA but also by clubs, players, coaches and spectators.
“Both regularly take control of major UEFA Champions’ league matches and were also involved in critical Euro matches including the play-offs when Mark refereed Norway v Hungary and Martin refereed Denmark v Sweden.
“They have been in excellent form for several years as shown by their appointment to UEFA top matches – Mark refereeing the 2014 UEFA Super Cup final and Martin was in charge of the 2015 UEFA Europa League final.”
Clattenburg has also taken charge of the 2012 League Cup Final and the men’s gold medal match between Brazil and Mexico at the London Olympics in the same year.
Atkinson was fourth official to Howard Webb in the 2010 Champions League Final and was in the middle for the 2011 FA Cup Final and 2014 League Cup Final.
Meanwhile, Lanarkshire-based Collum was thrilled with the news and is delighted he will be representing Scotland at the tournament after Gordon Strachan’s team failed to qualify.
The 36-year-old told the Scottish FA website: “I’m really looking forward to it and can safely say that this is likely to be the highlight of my refereeing career.
“It’s the closest a referee can ever come to getting picked for Scotland.
“You can imagine what it’s like for a player to play in a major championship and it’s the same for the referees. It will be a great honour to represent my country on such a world stage.”
The SFA’s head of referee operations, John Fleming, believes the appointment is just rewards for Collum’s dedication to his role and is a significant achievement for Scottish refereeing.
“I am absolutely delighted for William,” he added. “He is a tremendously hard-working referee and this is great news for the country.
“There are only 18 refs who have been appointed, and for Scotland to have one is fantastic. I’m sure the country will get behind William and his team in the summer.”
Portugal’s Pedro Proenca – who oversaw the 2012 final in which Spain beat Italy 4-0 in Kiev – has since retired from international duty.
Only seven officials remain from the previous European Championships including Spain’s Carlos Velasco Carballo – who officiated the first game of the tournament between co-hosts Poland and Greece – and 2015 Champions League Final referee Cuneyt Cakir.
There were only 12 referees chosen last time around but an extra six have been called upon following the expansion of the tournament from 18 to 24 teams.
All 18 officials have been regularly involved so far in this season’s Uefa Champions League.
Each refereeing team will consist of a referee, two assistant referees and two additional assistant referees.
The majority of assistants and additional assistants will come from the same country as the referee, with the full list of officials to be announced in February.
The refereeing selection comes after the group stage draw was conducted last Saturday. The 51-match tournament itself kicks off in Paris on June 10, 2016.
Full referee list:
Martin Atkinson (England), Felix Brych (Germany), Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey), Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain), Mark Clattenburg (England), William Collum (Scotland), Jonas Eriksson (Sweden), Ovidiu Hategan (Romania), Sergey Karasev (Russia), Viktor Kassai (Hungary), Pavel Kralovec (Czech Republic), Bjorn Kuipers (Netherlands), Szymon Marciniak (Poland), Milorad Mazic (Serbia), Svein Moen (Norway), Nicola Rizzoli (Italy), Damir Skomina (Slovenia), Clement Turpin (France).
- 26 to 28 January – UEFA assistant referee course in Cyprus
- 1 to 5 February – UEFA’s annual winter course with all Elite Group referees
- 18 to 22 April – Preparatory referee course in France
- 6 June – Referee teams will arrive in France for the final tournament