Referee confirmed for Leeds United vs Southampton as VAR appointments made for Championship play-off final clash

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Leeds United and Southampton meet at Wembley on Sunday with a place in the Premier League up for grabs.

Premier League referee John Brooks will be in charge for Sunday’s massive Championship play-off final between Leeds United and Southampton.

Brooks, who also has experience in UEFA European Championship qualifying and the Europa Conference League, will be the man in the middle as Leeds and Southampton go toe-to-toe for a place in the top-flight. The Select Group 1 referee will lead a seven-strong team of officials for one of England’s biggest one-off games.

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As a regular top-flight referee, Brooks has only dropped down to the Championship on one occasion this season. Coincidentally, that was for Leeds’ 3-1 defeat against Southampton at St Mary’s in September, a game in which Adam Armstrong appeared to have been offside when scoring the opening goal.

"The first goal would have been ruled out for offside by VAR,” Farke said of the decision at the time. “But there is no VAR in the Championship so you have to drop a little bit quicker to defend the run of Armstrong. Fortunately, Brooks will have the help of VAR this time round.

Despite not being in use throughout the regular campaign, VAR will return for the final - as it did for League One and League Two play-off finals - as Wembley has the technology available to utilise. Australian Jarred Gillet will be in charge of VAR, having impressed Leeds supporters with a competent performance as referee of last week’s 4-0 semi-final second-leg win over Norwich City.

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Gillet refused to fall for some of Norwich’s underhand tactics, particularly those of striker Ashley Barnes, and appeared to call every major decision correctly. The Australian will not have as much influence this time round but should be able to flag any major errors.

Sunday will be Brooks’ first play-off final experience as referee, having only been in charge at Wembley once before during the 2018 FA Vase final. The Leicestershire born official has been assistant referee twice before at Wembley, during the 2016 FA Cup final and 2014 Championship play-off final.

Below is the full list of appointments, as confirmed by the EFL:

Referee: John Brooks.

Assistant referees: Simon Bennett & Dan Robathan.

Fourth official: Tony Harrington.

Reserve assistant referee: Akil Howson.

VAR: Jarred Gillett.

Assistant VAR: Darren Cann.