Björn Kuipers will officiate the Europa League final in Amsterdam, says KNVB (Dutch FA).
The referee from The Netherlands will also go to the Confederations Cup in Brazil this summer. Kuipers will work the final with assistant referees Sander van Roekel and Erwin Zeinstra. He works with them each match during the Dutch football season as a real refereeing team. The extra assistants will be Pol van Boekel and Richard Liesveld. German referee Felix Brych will be the fourth official in the final which will be held in the Amsterdam Arena. It’s the first “home match” for a Champions League final referee.
I tried to get in touch with Björn Kuipers but he personally told me he would give no interviews to the press before the final. The Dutch FA also said it is not allowed to talk with journalists before the match.
UPDATE: I’ve added some quotes of Kuipers, who could not talk to the media, but has spoken with Uefa.com.
Kuipers is very happy with the appointment for him and his team. “I was at the beach when I got the call. I was doing some training on the coast of Holland, and Pierluigi Collina was calling me. I was very proud”, he says at Uefa.com. “I was happy for my team, happy to give them the news that we had the final. I was also thinking about the people who helped me to reach this: my coaches, the people at UEFA, the people at the Dutch FA, my team. It’s been hard work, but we got some bonus.”
Kuipers is the 14th Dutch referee who gets an international club match final, says Voetbal International, a Dutch football magazine. The last final referee from The Netherlands was Dick Jol, who got appointed in the 2000/2001 final between Bayern Munich and Valencia, won after penalty kicks by the Germans.
Kuipers is an Elite Referee from Uefa and he has officiated 64 international matches including 23 in the Champions League. He refereed five Champions League matches this season: a quarter final between Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain and then a semi-final first round between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid.
But how do referees prepare for such a final? Kuipers: “We have been preparing for a long time. It’s never just about one day. If we get an appointment we clear our schedules,” he says. “We prepare in everything: fitness, we analyse the teams and we analyse our previous matches. It’s not a one-hour job, it takes a long time to prepare for a match like this. And I always say it is not all about me. I am the referee and the end responsibility is mine, but I never act alone. I need my team, I need everyone around me. I am very happy with my team – we have performed very well over the past year.”
The Dutch Referee Blog wishes Kuipers all the best for the final.