It seems Crikey is not alone in thinking
Norwegian soccer referee Terje
Hauge failed badly in Wednesday’s Champions League final. Our writer, Michael
Roberts, argued yesterday that Hauge single-handedly managed to wreck what was
otherwise shaping as a classic final between Barcelona and Arsenal. Now it seems everyone involved in
the match agrees – including the ref.

“The match started
well, then obviously there was the incident with the sending-off,” Hauge told
The Guardian.
“At this point I would have liked to have taken a few more seconds before I
made my decision.

“The ideal thing
would have been to wait a few seconds. If I’d done that, I could have given the
goal and eventually given a yellow card. Of course everyone wants a goal, so
this was a key situation.”

However, Hauge added
that, unnecessary sending-off aside: “All in all I’m quite happy with my

Not everyone agreed. Gunners captain and
star Thierry Henry didn’t exactly hold back, reported in the various newspapers
as saying:

“Some of the
refereeing was horrendous. If the ref didn’t want us to win, he should
said so from the start. I don’t know if the referee was wearing a
Barcelona shirt because they kicked me all over the
place. He wasn’t used to the pace of the Premiership. Some of the calls
very strange. In fact, I’d like to have seen a proper referee out
there. Maybe next time I’ll learn to dive, but I’m not a woman, so I
want to
stay on my feet.”

comments could have all sorts of ramifications. The Times reports that he is likely to stay at Arsenal now, instead of shifting to Barcelona (which wasn’t thrilled with his take on the
match), while – AFL coaches take note – the goalposts have
apparently been moved regarding players sledging officials. UEFA confirmed
Henry wouldn’t be fined for his outburst. “There is
absolutely no need for any disciplinary action to be taken for comments made in
the heat of the moment,” a spokesman said.

Boy, was that a
can of worms we just heard being opened?