Kevin will be the Referee for the game on Saturday 18th May

The Football Association [The FA] has today announced the match officials for the 2019 Emirates FA Cup Final.

Kevin Friend [Leicestershire & Rutland FA] has been appointed as referee for the showpiece fixture between Manchester City and Watford on Saturday 18 May. He will be joined by assistant referees Constantine Hatzidakis [Kent FA] and Matthew Wilkes [Birmingham FA], fourth official Graham Scott [Berks & Bucks FA] and reserve assistant referee Edward Smart [Birmingham FA].

Andre Marriner [Birmingham FA] will be the Video Assistant Referee [VAR] for the match. Marriner will be joined at Stockley Park by the assistant VAR Harry Lennard [Sussex FA].

Kevin Friend was promoted to the list of Select Group Referees who officiate primarily in the Premier League in 2009. He has taken charge of numerous high-profile matches, including the 2012 FA Community Shield between Chelsea and Manchester City at Villa Park and the 2013 League Cup Final between Bradford City and Swansea at Wembley Stadium.

Kevin Friend said: "As a referee, the FA Cup Final is the pinnacle of your career. When you start out you never dream that you’re going to get the chance to take charge of a cup final, so to get the call this year is just fantastic.

"Every referee has goals and targets. There are certain games you want to be a part of and the FA Cup Final is definitely on that list. No matter what game it is, no referee can do it all on their own – it’s all about the team. This is a huge honour for us all and I’m really looking forward to it."

David Elleray, Chairman of The FA Referees' Committee, added"The appointment of the match officials for the FA Cup Final is one of the most important responsibilities of The FA Referees' Committee. This year’s officials are a very good blend of long-term domestic and international experience and the Committee has every confidence that Kevin and his team will enhance what promises to be an exciting and open Cup final.

"Everyone involved in refereeing at The FA and the wider refereeing world wishes the team a wonderful 2019 FA Cup final and we all hope and expect it will be one that they will look back on with much pride and affection for many years to come."

For more information and reaction to the appointments, visit


For further information, please contact:

Aaron Bains

Corporate Communications Manager / +44 (0) 800 169 1863


About The FA

The Football Association [The FA] is the not-for-profit governing body of football in England. It is responsible for promoting and developing every level of the game, from grassroots through to the professional game, and successfully generates enough revenue to support the investment of well over £100m into English football each year. 

The FA oversees 28 England international teams, across men’s, women’s, youth and disability football, as well as running FA Competitions, including the Emirates FA Cup and SSE Women's FA Cup, and the world-class facilities of Wembley Stadium and St. George’s Park, all with a purpose to Unite the Game and Inspire the Nation.