The quarter-final stage of the FIFA World Cup 2022 will
begin after two days of inaction on Friday as world number 1 Brazil takes on
2018 runners up Croatia. Michael Oliver of England will officiate the match in what will be his third in the current World Cup.
Who is Michael Oliver?
Michael Oliver is a professional football referee with more than 20 years of experience in the trade. He was born on February 20, 1985 at
Ashington, Northumberland in England. As his father Clive Oliver was also a football
referee by profession, Michael had a natural propensity for the job that saw
him become the youngest football referee for a match at the Wembley stadium
when he did so at the age of 14.
Father and son’s careers went side by side at one time when
Clive officiated the 2009 League Two play-off final while Michael was seen as a
referee for the League One play-off final, held only a day later. Michael
Oliver was supposed to become the youngest referee in the Premier League at the
age of 24 but nature stood between him and his achievement when inclement weather
postponed the match between Fulham and Portsmouth in January 2010.
Also read: Who is Pedro Castillo?
Michael Oliver was the centre of a controversy in 2018
during the 2017-18 UEFA champions league when Real Madrid took on Juventus in
the second leg of the quarter-finals. Having lost the first match 0-3, the Serie
A side needed to score 3-0 to force the match into extra time.
While Juventus looked on course for extra time with a 3-0 lead with play in
injury time, a penalty decision by Oliver in Madrid’s favour caused much furore
including verbal attacks by Juventus’ keeper Lucas Vazquez for which he was
given a red card. Ronaldo scored the penalty as Madrid beat Juventus but Oliver
had to face the heat of abuses and threats by exasperated Juventus’ fans. In May 2022 FIFA
made an announcement that Oliver would be one of the referees at the World Cup.