By Keith Hackett

17th May, 2022 | 12:10pm

Ex-Fifa official issues 'massive' referee claim after confirmed Sunderland news

Keith Hackett has claimed an EFL referee should take charge of the League One play-off final between Sunderland and Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday (21 May).

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Fifa and Premier League referee backed the decision to introduce VAR for the showpiece occasion.

The EFL confirmed on Monday (16 May) that the technology will be in place for the first time in the play-offs across all three divisions.

They also confirmed the same day that Premier League official Simon Hooper will be the man in the middle at Wembley.

“I can understand why they want in the Championship play-off final,” Hackett told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.

“If they were going to put the League One play-off final on without VAR then they should have had a Championship referee.

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“If they are going to have a Premier League referee then they should spend the money and have VAR. It’s there in the stadium, the game is on TV so why not? They will have Premier League referees now. 

“I can remember years ago when the play-offs started and as an international referee, I was getting appointed to them.

“I said to the guys at the Football League ‘Look, this ought to be the opportunity for a younger referee to experience Wembley’. I still have that mentality.

“There’s got to be some up and coming referees at that level who could use this as a massive experience to help boost their careers.”

Saturday’s game with Wycombe gives Sunderland the chance to return to the Championship for the first time since the 2017-18 campaign.

Wycombe were relegated from the second-tier last season, their only campaign in the division.

In other news, Sunderland have made contact over signing a 28-year-old.