ENGLAND’S Euro 2020 semi-final clash against Denmark will be refereed by a part-time armed policeman.
And Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate already has history with man of authority Danny Makkelie, who was in charge for the last-16 win against Germany.
The Dutch official was in charge when Southgate, in his role as England U21 boss, lost their first game in the 2015 Euros against Portugal.
But it is his profession off the pitch that tells you that Makkelie will stand for no nonsense on it.
As he progressed up the refereeing ladder, the 38-year-old was allowed to go part-time for the police in Rotterdam.
He describes how being an officer is for ‘the heart’ while trotting out onto the football pitch is his ‘passion’.
But Makkelie sees similarities between the two jobs and believes police work has been invaluable to him becoming a successful ref.
Speaking on the Dutch police website, he said: “In both professions you see to it that the rules of the game are observed.
“As a police officer you ensure safety on the street, as a referee you ensure safety on the field.
“You have to be able to communicate well with both citizens and players. In both cases you have to keep a cool head under difficult circumstances.
“[You] make decisions quickly, anticipate unexpected changes, act in a de-escalating manner and radiate authority.
“As a referee and police officer you are an authority. You have an exemplary role – you should always be aware of that.”
Makkelie was born in the Caribbean island of Curacao to a Dutch Royal Marine, but returned home during his childhood.
He grew up with an interest in officiating in basketball matches and football – ultimately it has led to him being a part of the Dutch FA’s referee programmes.
And while Makkelie doesn’t anticipate quitting the day job any time soon, taking his ‘whistle’ around the world is an opportunity he can’t turn down.
He added: “Whistling is my greatest passion.
“What could be better than flying around the world, seeing new things and whistling in the most beautiful stadiums, always making new contacts and meeting famous players?
“It opens many doors and that’s what makes my job as a referee so special.”
Makkelie was first listed as a FIFA referee in 2011 was the whistler for the 2020 Europa League final between Sevilla and Inter Milan.
But this is his first major international tournament in the middle, and it’s started pretty well for the cop.
SunSport’s expert referee columnist Mark Halsey praised Makkelie prior to England’s victory over Germany.
Halsey explained: “The Dutchman allows physical challenges and lets the game to breathe.
“But the 38-year-old is not afraid to stamp his authority on the game when players overstep the mark and disciplinary action is needed.
“Makkelie was awarded the opening game of the Euros between Italy and Turkey and that shows how highly he’s thought of within Uefa because they always want a major competition to get off to a smooth start.
“His excellent performance in Rome and set the tone for a generally high standard of officiating at the tournament where there has not been too much controversy.
“Let’s hope we’re talking about the football and not the referee – judging by his displays so far Makkelie should have no problems on that score.”
Makkelie made his Eredivisie debut in 2009 and has gone on to make over 180 appearances across nine seasons.
He took charge of five Champions League fixtures in 2019, including the quarter-final first leg when Barcelona beat Roma 4-1.
The Dutchman was blasted by the Italians’ boss Eusebio di Francesco for denying them a penalty in that game, but it proved irrelevant as Roma heroically won the second leg 3-0 to progress on away goals.
Makkelie has also been involved in the Europa League, officiating 11 matches from 2012 to 2017.
He was the referee for Italy’s easy 3-0 Group A win against Turkey on the Euros’ opening game on June 11.
He only flashed two yellow cards in this game, to Turkey pair Caglar Soyuncu and sub Halil Dervisoglu.
Russia’s win over Finland was then officiated by Makkelie, who then oversaw England’s 2-0 win over Germany last week.
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