Sunday 22 January 2017

UEFA take no chances and appoint World Cup final referee for Ireland v France

Published 25/06/2016 | 16:34

Nicola Rizzoli was in charge for Ireland's clash with Scotland in the qualifiers

UEFA have done their best to avoid another handball shambles in today’s France-Ireland tie.

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The referee is Nicola Rizzoli of Italy, who refereed the 2014 World Cup Final between Germany and Argentina.

He has also taken charge of a Champions League final and, this time, UEFA have clearly decided that nothing but the best will do for a France-Ireland encounter.

Meanwhile, Ireland manager Martin O'Neill is deeply unhappy that his team's supporters will be dwarfed by the home crowd when they take on France in Lyon tomorrow.

The Derryman took aim at UEFA today for allowing a situation where the Irish presence in the 59,000 capacity Stade de Lyon could be restricted to just 4,600 with France fans snapping up the vast majority of the tickets.

He believes the organisers should have set a bigger amount aside for any nation that ended up encountering the hosts in the knock-out stage.

"The ticket allocation is something I do have a gripe about," said O'Neill this afternoon. "It's totally disproportionate for a stadium of this size.

"For any team that is going to be playing in the last 16, I think getting less than 5,000 tickets is pretty unfair. It's totally disproportionate, not just for us but for any side. There should be an allocation left aside for any team playing here. It will be severely one sided."

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