Martin Atkinson

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Martin Atkinson
Atkinson in 2014
Full name Martin Atkinson
Born (1971-03-31) 31 March 1971 (age 53)
Drighlington, West Riding of Yorkshire,[a] England
Other occupation Teacher
Years League Role
1998–2000 England Football League Assistant referee
2000–2003 England Premier League Assistant referee
2002–2003 England Football Conference Referee
2003–2005 England Football League Referee
2005–2022 England Premier League Referee
2022–present England Premier League Referee coach
Years League Role
2006–2018 FIFA listed Referee

Martin Atkinson (born 31 March 1971) is an English referee coach and retired professional football referee who officiated primarily in the Premier League. He is a member of the West Riding County Football Association.[1]

Atkinson made his first appearance as an official in the Football League as an assistant referee in 1995. Since he was promoted to the list of Select Group Referees in 2004 he refereed a number of notable matches, including the FA Community Shield and the finals of the FA Trophy, Football League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Europa League. Atkinson retired from field duties at the end of the 2021–22 season and will coach the select group one referees for Premier League in the 2022–23 season.[2]


Atkinson started his refereeing career at the relatively early age of 16 years, as the local team did not have a referee to oversee matches. By 1998, he had been promoted to the Football League's list of assistant referees.

This was followed in 2000 by promotion to the Select Group of assistant referees. By December 2002 he was refereeing Football Conference matches,[3] and also refereed the 2003 FA County Youth Cup final.[4]

At the start of the 2003–04 season, Atkinson joined the national list of referees. He had the distinction of not sending off any player from the field of play between August 2004 and October 2005.

Atkinson made his Premier League officiating debut on 18 September 2004 in a match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City.[citation needed]

During the three seasons between 2003 and 2006, Atkinson issued only eight red cards in 102 matches, an average of less than 0.08 per game.

In 2006 Atkinson was appointed to the list of FIFA referees.[5]

The 2009–10 season saw Atkinson referee 48 matches in English football, his highest tally of appointments in one season to date.

In September 2010, Atkinson was handed a one-week demotion to the role of fourth official after a time-keeping dispute with Everton manager David Moyes. Everton had scored two injury-time goals to make the score 3–3 against Manchester United, but Atkinson then blew his final whistle while Everton were midway through an attack with a chance of a winner.[6][better source needed]

On 22 May 2022, Atkinson was in charge of his final Premier league match, between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park, which also happens to be the ground he made his debut 17 years ago.[citation needed] At the time of his retirement, he had refereed 462 games in the Premier league, which is second highest in the competition, after Mike Dean's 560.[citation needed]

2006 FA Community Shield[edit]

Atkinson refereed the 2006 FA Community Shield match at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Liverpool defeated Chelsea 2–1, with Atkinson issuing four yellow cards during the course of the game.[7]

Shevchenko 44'
Ballack Yellow card 7'
Lampard Yellow card 15'
Diarra Yellow card 68'
(Report) Riise 9'
Crouch 80'
Alonso Yellow card 61'
Attendance: 56,275

2008 FA Trophy final[edit]

Atkinson was appointed to referee the 2008 FA Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium, which was contested between Ebbsfleet United and Torquay United.[8]

Ebbsfleet United1–0Torquay United
McPhee 45'
Smith Yellow card
McCarthy Yellow card
Moore Yellow card
Rice Yellow card
Attendance: 40,186

2011 FA Cup final[edit]

Atkinson was appointed to officiate the 2011 FA Cup final. Manchester City defeated Stoke City 1–0; Atkinson issued two yellow cards to two Stoke players during the match.

Manchester City1–0Stoke City
Y. Touré 74' Report Wilkinson Yellow card 76'
Huth Yellow card 40'
Attendance: 88,643

2014 Football League Cup final[edit]

Atkinson refereed the 2014 Football League Cup final between Manchester City and Sunderland. City won the match 3–1 and Atkinson cautioned two players, both late in the second half.

Manchester City3–1Sunderland
Touré 55'
Nasri 56'
Navas 90'
Negredo Yellow card 90'
Report Borini 10'
Alonso Yellow card 90'
Attendance: 84,697

Europe and international[edit]

On 13 October 2007, Atkinson refereed a group C qualifier for Euro 2008 between Moldova and Turkey. The game in the Moldovan capital Chişinău ended a 1–1 draw, with the referee showing two yellow cards.

Atkinson issues a yellow card during a fixture between Birmingham City and Arsenal in 2010

The 2008–09 season was the first that Atkinson took charge of UEFA Champions League games. That season he refereed four matches, including FC Zürich against Real Madrid and Inter Milan versus Dynamo Kyiv.[9] In 2010 Atkinson was fourth official to Howard Webb for the Champions League final in Madrid. He issued his first Champions League red card on 5 April 2011, to Cristian Chivu of Inter Milan as they lost 5–2 at home to Schalke.

Atkinson officiated multiple matches during 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualification, including the UEFA group 4 qualifying game between Germany and Finland in Hamburg on 14 October 2009 which ended 1–1.[10] One month later, he officiated Portugal's 1–0 qualifying win over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He officiated at Euro 2012 as an additional assistant referee in a team with referee Howard Webb.[11]

The referee abandoned a Euro 2016 qualifying match in Belgrade between Serbia and Albania on 14 October 2014 when violence on the pitch and crowd disturbances broke out after a quadcopter was flown over the pitch bearing a flag of Greater Albania.[12]

On 27 May 2015, Atkinson was in charge of the 2015 UEFA Europa League Final between Sevilla and Dnipro. Seville won 3-2 and defended their title.

Atkinson refereed 3 games at Euro 2016: Germany v Ukraine and Hungary v Portugal at group stage, as well as a round of 16 game between Wales and Northern Ireland.

With no English officials being selected for the 2018 World Cup, the first time since 1938,[13] Atkinson refereed his last international match in March 2018, a friendly between Argentina and Italy at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.[14] Atkinson would referee the Manchester Derby at the same stadium less than a month later, a performance that was criticised by former Premier League referee Keith Hackett who stated "if you want proof of why no English referee will be represented at this summer’s World Cup finals in Russia, look no further than Martin Atkinson’s performance at the Etihad on Saturday."[15]

Personal life[edit]

Atkinson was born in Drighlington, West Riding of Yorkshire,[a] but is now based near Leeds.


Season Games Total Yellow card Yellow card per game Total Red card Red card per game
2002–03 9 28 3.11 3 0.33
2003–04 26 61 2.34 3 0.11
2004–05 38 87 2.28 3 0.07
2005–06 38 78 2.05 2 0.05
2006–07 42 128 3.04 6 0.14
2007–08 42 109 2.60 6 0.14
2008–09 40 135 3.38 11 0.28
2009–10 48 187 3.90 6 0.13
2010–11 41 143 3.49 13 0.32
2011–12 40 146 3.65 11 0.28
2012–13 36 133 3.69 1 0.03
2013–14 39 118 3.03 3 0.08
2014–15 48 193 4.02 11 0.23
2015–16 46 169 3.67 1 0.02
2016–17 43 146 3.40 3 0.07
2017–18 33 118 3.58 5 0.15
2018–19 34 110 3.24 2 0.06
2019–20 36 110 3.06 5 0.14
2020–21 30 71 2.37 2 0.07
2021–22 28 75 2.68 3 0.11
Total 737 2345 3.18 100 0.14

Statistics for all competitions. No records are available prior to 2002–03.[16]


  1. ^ a b 'West Yorkshire' did not exist before 1 April 1974. 'West Riding of Yorkshire' is correct


  1. ^ Profile Archived 15 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine: the Football League official website. Retrieved on 16 April 2008
  2. ^ Law, Matt (28 April 2022). "Exclusive: Premier League referees Martin Atkinson and Jonathan Moss will retire at end of season". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  3. ^ Football Conference Archived 16 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine referee, 2002: website. Retrieved on 16 April 2008
  4. ^ FA Youth Cup Final 2003: website. Retrieved on 16 April 2008
  5. ^ Appointment as FIFA referee, 2006: website. Retrieved on 16 April 2008
  6. ^ "Football". mirror. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  7. ^ FA Community Shield 2006, Liverpool v. Chelsea: website. Retrieved on 16 April 2008
  8. ^ FA Trophy Final 2008, Ebbsfleet v. Torquay, referee: website. Retrieved on 16 April 2008.
  9. ^ "Select Referee Profile - Martin Atkinson | Refworld". Archived from the original on 9 August 2009.
  10. ^ FIFA World Cup qualifier Archived 15 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Germany v. Finland, referee: website. Retrieved on 27 November 2009.
  11. ^ "Euro 2012 Referees" (PDF). UEFA. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  12. ^ Serbia and Albania will be charged by UEFA RTÉ Sports, 15 October 2014.
  13. ^ "Fifa confirms no British referees will take part at Russia World Cup". The Guardian. 29 March 2018.
  14. ^ "Atkinson cut Argentina-Italy cards". Football Italia. 24 March 2018.
  15. ^ Hackett, Keith (8 April 2018). "Ashley Young had to be sent off for horror tackle - the fact he wasn't shows why our referees are not rated". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022.
  16. ^ "Martin Atkinson | Latest Football Betting Odds | Soccer Base". Retrieved 26 April 2021.

External links[edit]

Preceded by FA Community Shield referee
Succeeded by
Preceded by FA Trophy Final referee
Succeeded by
Preceded by FA Cup Final referee
Succeeded by
Preceded by UEFA Europa League Final referee
Succeeded by