An all-English final with a female French referee

Later tonight, the UEFA Super Cup takes place in Istanbul and this time there won’t be any Spanish club taking part. It’s a bit of a shame, we’d kind of got used to having at least one representative. In the last 10 editions, there’s only been one edition where a Spanish team wasn’t involved. There have even been occasions where there have been two Spanish finalists. But this time, our presence will be limited to the four Spanish players at Chelsea - Kepa, Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso and Pedro; and a surprise addition in Adrián San Miguel, who will be keeping goal for Liverpool after a strange week in which he went from signing on the dole and training with Andalucian regional division outfit UD Pilas, to starting tonight’s final with Klopp’s European champions.

English teams dominating in Europe

This year’s Super Cup is a symbol of how strong the Premier League is. LaLiga still dominates the UEFA ranking, leading the English league by 103,569 points to 85,462, but only last season, they reduced the distance by 9,286 points. Another threat is coming from Italy, with their fiscal benefits. Both should serve as a warning sign for Luis Rubiales, who’s feeling a bit full of himself because he feels protected by Florentino; he’s also upset the AFE (Spanish Footballers' Association) National Futsal League, and now contemplates his attacks on LaLiga with more care – especially on matters that involve money.

UEFA Super Cup match officials: (left to right) Assistant referee Manuela Nicolosi, fourth official Cuneyt Cakir, referee Stephanie Frappart and assistant referee Michelle O'Neill

Stéphanie Frappart in charge

But the prime focus of this edition of the final isn’t English or Spanish - it’s French because refereeing the game this evening will be Stéphanie Frappart, the first female match official to oversee a men's final at this level. I’m sure she’s ready for it, in terms of both the technical and physical demands that go with it, even though she has only refereed nine games at the top level in French football. She will also make her debut in a major European final having to deal with a host of new regulations, some of them unnecessary in my view – apart from the decision to reinstate yellow cards for coaches – one which was abolished a few years ago. So that’s on top of everything else Stéphanie Frappart will be dealing with tonight. We wish her the best of luck!