- First match at Wembley as referee for Madley
- West Yorkshire official a surprise choice for crucial game
- Becomes youngest ref to oversee Championship PO Final
- Hull and Sheffield Wednesday aiming for Premier League
BOBBY Madley will take charge of the 2016 SkyBet Championship Play-Off Final between Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, May 28.
The 30-year-old, from west Yorkshire, has been confirmed by the Football League to oversee the Wembley showpiece as the Tigers and the Owls battle to join Burnley and Middlesbrough in the Premier League.
He will be ably assisted by Simon Bennett (Staffordshire) and Peter Kirkup (Northamptonshire).
The fourth official was Roger East (Wiltshire) – who fulfilled the same role in last season’s Play-Off Final between Norwich and Middlesbrough and replaced Phil Gibbs who was a late withdrawal.
The reserve assistant is Marc Perry, from the West Midlands.
Madley could be considered a surprise choice for a crucial game between two Yorkshire rivals as a result of his Yorkshire connections – particularly after Kevin Friend was removed from a Tottenham game recently because of his allegiance to their Premier League title rivals Leicester.
Given the high stakes and intense pressure, the Championship Play-Off Final is normally awarded to more experienced officials with so much at stake – with Mike Jones the favourite among refereeing circles.
But the trend appears to have been defied this year with the appointment of Madley, who has not even refereed 50 Premier League games yet.
The Ossett-based whistler has already visited the national stadium this season as fourth official for the Capital One Cup Final between Liverpool and Manchester City in March.
He only joined the National List of referees in 2010 but has made plenty of progress since.
Madley sent off three players on his Premier League debut when West Brom beat Southampton 3-0 at St Mary’s in April 2013 before being promoted to the Select Group of referees for the 2013-14 campaign.
He had only handled 17 top-flight games in his first two seasons but has overseen 26 this term and was entrusted with several high-profile matches this term, including a first Wear-Tyne and Merseyside derbies.
Madley, the younger brother of Football League referee Andy, 32, was also elevated to Fifa status in January 2016.
He has overseen three Championship games this term – one being Sheffield Wednesday’s 1-1 home draw with Ipswich on April 16 in which he dished out four bookings.
Madley has not encountered Hull since their 2-0 FA Cup third round defeat to Arsenal in January 2015.
Overall, he brandished 104 yellow cards, sent off eight players and awarded 14 penalties – more than any other Premier League referee – in 36 games in all competitions this season.
Madley has previously officiated 34 Championship games in his career – dishing out three bookings per game on average.
The match – the first of the three Football League Play-Off Finals over the Bank Holiday weekend – is at 17:00 BST and screened live on Sky Sports 1.
Promotion to the top-flight for either side is believed to be worth up to £200 million when next year’s improved TV deal kicks in.
Steve Bruce’s Hull can secure an immediate return to the top-flight with victory in their first Play-Off Final since 2008.
Both league meetings between the sides this season ended in draws but Wednesday can guarantee a first Premier League return since 2000 with a win in their first trip to Wembley in 23 years.
The Owls beat Brighton 3-1 over two legs in the semi-finals after finishing sixth in the Championship in head coach Carlos Carvalhal’s debut season at Hillsborough.