It’s three years since sunkissed Swede Anders Frisk retired from top-level officiating – hounded out by death threats following an infamous Champions League clash between Barcelona and Chelsea. But Scandanavian officials are back at the top of UEFA’s elite refereeing lists and could sweep the board of top match appointments this week.Ã‚Â
Sweden’s Peter Fjordfeldt took charge of last night’s UEFA Cup final in Manchester – keeping a tense match flowing, despite one side’s reluctance to attack for the most part, and only issuing one yellow card – for timewasting. Norway’s Tom Henning Ovrebo has been handed several key appointments this season as he continues to impress, but it could be Claus Bo Larsen of Denmark who gets the gig they all want – the Champions League final – when UEFA select their match official this week. It looks like there are four main contenders to take the whistle in Moscow:
Claus Bo Larsen (Denmark)The English-speaking Dane is the favourite in refereeing circles to be given the honour of officiating in Moscow and he would not be a stranger to taking charge of a match in Russia. It’s been a busy season for Claus, who was invited by the Russian FA to ref the massive title decider last September between Zenit and CSKA. The 43-year-old customs clearance manager has also taken charge of five Champions League ties, one Champions League qualifier, one Euro 2008 qualifier, loads of Danish Superliga matches and a FIFA Club World Cup semi-final in Japan. He’s refereed both finalists before this season, taking charge at Old Trafford when Man Utd defeated Sporting 2-1 in the group stage and he was again the man in black when Fenerbahce shocked Chelsea 2-1 in their Istanbul quarter-final. English fans might also remember Bo Larsen from Arsenal’s 0-0 draw at home to AC Milan in February and Liverpool’s surpise defeat to Besiktas back in October. He is scheduled to referee on Sunday when Midtjylland face AGF.Ã‚Â
Konrad Plautz (Austria)
Began the season with the honour of refereeing the UEFA Super Cup in Monaco and has been arguably the busiest of all the elite officials. Has refereed 6 Champions League games, 1 UEFA Cup semi-final, 1 Euro 2008 qualifier. Another fluent English-speaker, Plautz has officiated British teams in seven of his nine appointments this season – incluing the all English semi-final between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield.
Herbert Fandel (Germany)
Would be a controversial appointment by UEFA following comments made by Sir Alex Ferguson earlier this season when he heard that Fandel was to take charge of Man Utd again. Sent off Paul Scholes in Rome last season, but United have won the last two matches when Fandel had the whistle, both this season – away in Lisbon and at home to Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final second leg – where Scholes got the goal. Also refereed Chelsea’s return leg win over Fenerbahce at Stamford Bridge and last year’s final between Milan and Liverpool – which might count against him this week.
Roberto Rosetti (Italy)
Six Champions League ties, two Euro 2008 qualifiers and a Champions League third qualifying round so far for this hospital manager from Turin. Rosetti was a late call-up to the 2006 World Cup, winning many admirers for his calm authority, and now looks set for a big appointment. The 40-year-old has also refereed both finalists before during the run to Moscow. Rosetti was in charge when Man Utd defeated Lyon 1-0 at old Trafford in the second round and he also took charge of Chelsea’s semi-final second leg win over Liverpool which sent them through to Russia. His standing in Italy is underlined by his recent appointment to the Milan derby.
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