Who is Christina Unkel? American rules analyst and VAR expert adds insight for ITV during Euro 2024

Euro 2024, Referee, Mike Dean

Christina Unkel is a former top level official (Getty Images)

Viewers in the United Kingdom have enjoyed the input of a new voice on ITV’s coverage of Euro 2024 with Christina Unkel making a positive first impression.

American football watchers will be familiar with former top level official Unkel, who has been a regular part of CBS’ broadcasts of the sport over the last few years.

But the 37-year-old is a fresh face for most in the UK as ITV look to offer expert insight into the officiating at the tournament.

The presence of an ex-referee as part of a broadcast team has become more common over the last decade, with former Premier League official Peter Walton a BT Sport/TNT Sports stalwart and Mike Dean stepping into a regular role with Sky Sports after retiring last year.

The addition of the video assistant referee (VAR) to football has created more opportunities for ex-officials to explain decisions made on the pitch.

A former collegiate soccer player in the United States, Unkel is an experienced former Fifa referee who took up officiating at the age of 10.

A qualified litigation lawyer, Unkel was a featured analyst during the 2019 Women’s World Cup for Fox Sports and has worked as a columnist for The Athletic and CBS Sports covering refereeing and legal issues within the game.

She also operates within football in a rather different capacity — in July of last year, Unkel was appointed president of the newly-formed Tampa Bay Sun FC.

The Florida club are set to play their first professional campaign in the inaugural season of the USL Super League, which launches in August.

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