FIFA hands it to Hansson
FIFA have appointed Swedish referee Martin Hansson as the man in the middle for the FIFA Confederations Cup final between Brazil and USA on Sunday evening. The 38-year-old Swede who hails from Holmsjo is a firefighter by trade and has been an international referee since 2001.
As well as officiating a number of FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Hansson has refereed at a FIFA U-17 World Cup [Finland 2003], a FIFA U-20 World Cup [Canada 2007] and even the final of the 2007 UEFA U-21 European Championship in the Netherlands. He will be assisted by fellow countrymen Henrik Andren and Frederik Nilsson at Ellis Park, while Benito Archundia will be the Fourth Official.
Shortly after the appointment was made, the keen hunter and fisherman spoke exclusively to FIFA.com and expressed his feelings about taking charge of such a big game.
"We had a meeting on Friday morning where the pronouncements were made for the final and the match for third place," explained Hansson. "It was fantastic moment for us. We all felt very honoured and very happy. It will be the biggest moment in my refereeing career so far. Previously my proudest moment as a referee was when I received my FIFA badge, but this eclipses it.
"As officials, we think it will be an amazing evening in Ellis Park and we're looking forward to what promises to be a great football game. Obviously, we are going to be extremely focused, so it will be difficult for us to enjoy match, but I hope that once it is over we will be able to take satisfaction in a job well done."
Hansson, who took charge of the Egypt-Italy game in Johannesburg and was the Fourth Official for the tournament's Opening Match, is a big fan of South Africa and believes that from what has witnessed professionally and personally, the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be something special.
"South Africa is a fantastic country. I was here two years ago on holiday and I was delighted when I was asked to come here for the FIFA Confederations Cup. It's such a lovely place. There's so much to do, so much to see and so much history. I'm sure that next year we will have fantastic World Cup next year."