LEEDS - New Zealand official Leon Williamson has been appointed to control the Four Nations final as the embarrassing stalemate over who should referee the Australia-England clash came to a predictable end overnight (NZT).
Three days after the appointment was due to be announced, Williamson - who has never refereed at NRL or Super League level - was given the nod ahead of Australian Shayne Hayne and England's Steve Ganson for Sunday's showdown at Elland Road.
Hayne was overlooked despite being named international referee of the year on Tuesday.
The 40-year-old Williamson has controlled two matches so far this tournament, including last Sunday's 42-4 win by Australia over France in Paris.
Rugby League International Federation officials had intended to announce the referee for the clash last Sunday, with referees bosses from the three senior members of the tournament - Australia, New Zealand and England - all putting forward their nominations.
Problems arose when each of the three countries selected their own official, with Australia protesting against the possible appointment of Ganson after he was given the Australia-England match earlier in the tournament.