Stuart Attwell appointed to League One Play-Off Final

Stuart Attwell will be the man in charge for the 2016 SkyBet League One Play-Off Final between Barnsley and Millwall at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, May 29.

  •  Third trip to Wembley as referee for Attwell
  •  Warm-up for return to Premier League next season
  •  Warwickshire referee oversaw 10 League One games in 2015-16
  •  Barnsley and Millwall battling for Championship place
Stuart Attwell referee (Portsmouth v Wimbledon - 15th Nov 2015)
Different level: Attwell handled four Premier League games this season and sent off Everton’s Kevin Mirallas at Swansea in January (Picture from Sky Sports)

STUART Attwell has been confirmed as the referee for the 2016 SkyBet League One Play-Off Final between Barnsley and Millwall this weekend.

The 33-year- old will be in the middle when the Tykes and the Lions go head to head for the remaining spot in next season’s Championship on Sunday, May 29, at 15:00 BST (live on Sky Sports 1).

He will be ably assisted by Nigel Lugg (Surrey) and Robert Jones (Merseyside), with Stephen Martin (Staffordshire) the fourth official and Matthew Jones (Staffordshire) acting as the reserve assistant.

It will be a quick return to Wembley for the whistler from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, after taking charge of the FA Vase Final between Hereford and Morpeth Town last Sunday.

Attwell is familiar to the pressures of handling a Play-Off Final having officiated Stockport County’s dramatic 3-2 win over Rochdale in the League Two showpiece in 2008.

Stuart Attwell (Middlesbrough v Wolves - 4th March 2016)
Brief experience: Attwell spent one year on the Fifa list of international referees in 2009 (Picture from Sky Sports)

He was first promoted to the Select Group in 2008 after just one season in the Football League and made his top-flight debut in Blackburn’s 1-1 with Hull at Ewood Park in August of the same year.

In doing so, he became the youngest ever Premier League referee at the age of 25, however, his record was subsequently broken by Michael Oliver in 2010.

After a series of controversial decisions, including the infamous ‘ghost goal’ between Reading and Watford, Attwell was demoted back to the National List in February 2012.

But having impressed in several trial top-flight games and delivering consistent displays on a regular basis in the Football League, he has been confirmed on the Premier League list along with Paul Tierney for next season.

Attwell – who supports League One side Coventry City – has handled 43 games in all competitions this season, including 10 in League One.

Overall, he has brandished 116 yellow cards, sent off four players and awarded seven penalties so far.

Attwell last officiated Barnsley in their 2-0 defeat at Scunthorpe at the end of October and Millwall in their 2-0 home defeat by Oxford in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in January.

He was last in the middle for Bristol Rovers’ 2-1 home win over Dagenham & Redbridge in League Two on May 7.

Only Mark Clattenburg, Anthony Taylor and Keith Stroud have taken charge of more domestic games this season than Attwell – showing how highly he is regarded, particularly in the lower divisions.

Last Five League One Play-Off Finals (as of 24th May 2016).jpeg

Attwell follows in the footsteps of Andy Madley last season – who handled the FA Vase between Glossop North End and North Shields before taking charge of Preston’s 4-0 win over Swindon in the League One Play-Off Final.

Barnsley, who have already won the JPT at Wembley this term, will be hoping to join Wigan Athletic and Burton Albion in the second tier next term and end a two-year exile from the Championship.

The Tykes, who completed a remarkable turnaround to finish sixth in League One under caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom, thrashed Walsall 6-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals.

Millwall are looking to secure an immediate return to the Championship in former striker Neil Harris’s first season as manager.

The south London outfit finished fourth in League One and beat Bradford 4-2 over two legs in the Play-Off semis.

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