Terje Hauge, the referee in charge of the the Champions League final between Barcelona and Arsenal admitted he was wrong not to have played advantage in the incident which saw Gunners keeper Jens Lehmann shown the red card.
In the 18th minute of Wednesday’s final in Paris Lehmann committed a blatant professional foul against Barca striker Samuel Eto’o just outside the penalty area, and as Eto’o fell, his team-mate Ludovic Giuly took possession of the ball and netted it. But Hauge had blown up as soon as Eto’o was fouled and subsequently dismissed the keeper.
“I must admit that I should have waited before blowing the whistle,” Hauge told NRK public radio.
“I should certainly have waited to see where the ball was going.”
“Under other circumstances I would perhaps have done something different with Lehmann, but this mostly rested on the positioning in relation to the situation.
“Everything happens quickly on the pitch and for me it looked as if there was physical contact.
“As well as that it happened in the linesman’s working area and I had no reason to doubt him in this instance.
“It was obviously a big game for Arsenal, and to lose is a huge disappointment so I understand their frustration. But we’ll have to give it a few days so we can discuss this more sensibly.”
Hauge’s performance has been strongly criticised by the Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and his captain Thierry Henry, but the Norwegian says he was not unhappy with his performance.
“It is clear that in matches which are this important there are always things open for discussion,” Hauge said. “But at the end of the day, we have no reason to be too dissatisfied.”