HOLLAND might not be at this year’s World Cup – but they’ve still sent over their top ref to join the party.

The Netherlands failed to qualify after a disastrous campaign, with Sweden and France making it to Russia from Group A, but Bjorn Kuipers is a familiar face to fans around Europe.

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The Dutch ref is part of Uefa's elite group
The Dutch ref is part of Uefa’s elite group
Getty – Contributor

Who is Bjorn Kuipers?

Kuipers, 45, is vastly experience and has been reffing since 2002.

He began in the Dutch leagues and worked his way up the ranks, becoming a Fifa listed ref in 2006.

He eventually joined the Uefa elite list in 2009.

Kuipers remains a fixture of the Dutch Eredivise, as well as high profile European competitions – where he most famously took charge of the Champions League final in 2014 between Real and Atletico.

Referees will have VAR to assist them in Russia
Referees will have VAR to assist them in Russia
Getty Images – Getty

 

Chelsea fans may remember he sent off Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 2015 Champions League, after being surrounded by nine Blues’ players.

And he took charge of this season’s Champions League semi-final first leg between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

Kuipers is surrounded by Chelsea players
Kuipers is surrounded by Chelsea players in 2015
AP:Associated Press

Will he be in charge of the Europa League final?

The Uefa Referees Committee announced in May that the Dutch official will referee the 2018 Uefa Europa League final.

He will be the man in the middle as Atletico Madrid take on Marseille.

The final is on May 16 at the Stade de Lyon.

Kick off is at 7.45pm BST.

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Has he officiated at the World Cup before?

This will be Kuipers second World Cup after his appearance in Brazil 2014.

There he took charge of England vs Italy, Switzerland vs France and Colombia vs Uruguay.

Last year he oversaw the U20 World Cup final as the Three Lions defeated Venezuela.

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