After all the talk that there wasn’t going to be an English referee at the World Cup, it turns out there will be.
Atkinson’s monumental cycling mission is being undertaken to raise money for four charities, and he will be accompanied by fellow Premier League referee Jon Moss.
The commendable act will see the pair passing through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Poland in a trip that is expected to take 18 days. They will finish up at the Kaliningrad Stadium where England face Belgium – their final Group G match – on June 28.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge, but it’s one I think we’re all relishing,” Atkinson told the BBC. “In 2016 we cycled to all 20 Premier League grounds, which totalled around 1,000 miles, so we’re really upping the ante for this one.
“We’ve been saying it’ll be 18 days of hurt, but it’s all for some brilliant charities, so we’re ready to go through that pain barrier!”