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Match officials confirmed for opening match of the season

Written by Dan King

For the second season in a row, Martin Atkinson will be the referee for Newcastle United's first game of the Premier League season.

The West Yorkshire whistler was the man in the middle when United took on Tottenham at St. James' Park last August, and will officiate Sunday's game against Arsenal (kick-off 2pm BST).

Atkinson also took charge of December's 0-0 draw at home to Fulham. He showed 110 yellow cards and just two reds in 34 matches in all competitions last season.

He has already refereed one game this term - Sunday's Community Shield clash between Manchester City and Liverpool, when he booked Kevin De Bruyne for a foul and also showed a yellow card to City manager Pep Guardiola, who became the first Premier League manager to be booked in the process.

Atkinson, 48, has refereed at international and Champions League level, as well as refereeing the 2011 FA Cup final and the 2014 League Cup final.

David Coote will be the video assistant referee, with VAR set to be used for the first time in a top flight game at St. James' Park, while the assistant referees will be Lee Betts and Constantine Hatzidakis. Darren England is the fourth official.

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