José María Sánchez

Match Officials confirmed for Bayer Leverkusen and Crystal Palace clashes

West Ham United v Bayer Leverkusen
UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg, London Stadium, Thursday 18 April 2024, 8pm BST

Referee: José María Sánchez (ESP)
Assistant Referees: Raúl Cabañero (ESP) and Iñigo Prieto (ESP)
Fourth Official: Cesar Soto Grado (ESP)
VAR: Carlos del Cerro Grande (ESP)
Assistant VAR: Ricardo de Burgos (ESP)

The match officials for Thursday evening’s UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg tie at home to Bayer Leverkusen have been confirmed.

A full Spanish contingent will be led by José María Sánchez, who has been a FIFA listed referee since 2017.

The 40-year-old, who is originally from Lorca, Murcia, began officiating at the turn of the 21st century, and took charge of his first game in the Spanish top flight in August 2015 - a 0–0 draw between Real Sociedad and Sporting Gijón.

Since then, he has held the whistle during more than 350 fixtures in a variety of competitions, including the 2022/23 Copa del Rey final, that saw Real Madrid overcome Osasuna 2-1 in Seville.

He has never refereed a West Ham United match before, but he has been the man in the middle at European games involving Liverpool, Manchester City, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion this season.

He has taken charge of 27 fixtures throughout 2023/24 so far, including 16 in La Liga, four in the UEFA Champions League and two in the UEFA Europa League.

Sánchez will be assisted at London Stadium by compatriots Raúl Cabañero and Iñigo Prieto.

Both regularly run the line at an elite level, and each has officiated in Spain’s top division on close to 100 occasions.

Similar to referee Sánchez, neither Cabañero nor Prieto have been involved in a West Ham United match before, though they have assisted at a number of games concerning English teams.

Indeed, Cabañero has officiated at one England international match during his career, that saw Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions beat Slovenia 3-2 in UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Cesar Soto Grado, who was the assistant VAR during West Ham’s narrow defeat away at Freiburg in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League round of 16 earlier this season, is set to be the fourth official.

Finally, there is another familiar face among the officials team, with Carlos del Cerro Grande set to oversee Video Assistant Referee duties. The 48-year-old refereed the Hammers’ UEFA Europa Conference League final triumph over Fiorentina last season, before serving alongside Soto Grado during the aforementioned game against Freiburg last month.

Graham Scott

Crystal Palace v West Ham United
Premier League, Selhurst Park, Sunday 21 April 2024, 3pm BST

Referee: Graham Scott
Assistant Referees: James Mainwaring and Sam Lewis
Fourth Official: James Bell
VAR: Paul Tierney
Assistant VAR: Eddie Smart

West Ham will return to Premier League action three days after the Leverkusen clash, away at Crystal Palace, with Graham Scott confirmed as the referee for that game.

The 55-year-old from Oxford has been part of the Select Group of Referees since 2015, having taken up refereeing in the lower leagues in 1997 after calling time on his playing career aged 27 due to a back injury.

Scott has taken charge of 15 games involving the Irons so far, beginning with a first-round EFL Cup clash at home to Aldershot Town in August 2011, and most recently during the 1-1 FA Cup draw against Bristol City in January 2024.

He has been the fourth official at three West Ham fixtures during 2023/24, the last of which saw David Moyes’ men battle to a 2-2 draw against Burnley at London Stadium in March.

James Mainwaring and Sam Lewis will serve as the assistant referees at Selhurst Park.

Mainwaring is well versed in the Premier League, having worked on over 100 such games, while Lewis is a regular in the EFL, but will be running the line in the top flight for only the third time on Sunday. His two previous outings in the division came at the end of last season.

James Bell will work as the fourth official in south London.

A regular referee in the EFL, Bell took charge of the National League Play-Off final between Harrogate Town and Notts County in 2020, and has since held the whistle in semi-finals of each of the EFL Trophy, FA Trophy, FA Sunday Cup, FA Youth Cup and FA County Youth Cup.

He has taken on the role of fourth official in the Premier League eight times before, most recently during Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Burnley at the end of March.

Video Assistant Referee duties are set to be overseen by Paul Tierney. The 43-year-old refereed West Ham’s away games against Fulham and Luton Town earlier this term.

Luton tickets