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New high for Meier

Switzerland's top man in black

(Keystone Archive)

Swiss football referee Urs Meier has been asked to take charge of this Wednesday's European Champions League final in Glasgow.

The decision by European football's governing body, UEFA, marks another great milestone for the 43-year-old official from canton Aargau, who was told of his appointment on Friday.

"I'm absolutely delighted to be refereeing the final," Meier told swissinfo on Monday, "because being chosen for the Champions League final is one of the highest honours a referee can get."

Having begun his international refereeing career in 1994 with an under-16 match between the Republic of Ireland and England, Meier has since refereed at more than 70 international matches.

Among the most high-profile have been his two matches at the 1998 World Cup, including the politically explosive game between the United States and Iran, as well as a number of earlier round matches in the Champions League.

Meier, who was voted the ninth best referee in the world by the international association of football statisticians in January, has again been chosen to referee at this year's World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

Risk

"Being chosen to referee the Champions League final just before the World Cup is also something of a risk," Meier pointed out to swissinfo. "If the game goes well from a refereeing point of view, that's good for me, but if not then the reverse is true.

"But I'm a positive man," Meier added, "and I think it will be a good match to take charge of."

Since the referee's assistants are chosen from among his own countrymen, Wednesday's Champions League final between Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen will also see three other Swiss take up official duties.

Francesco Buragina, also from canton Aargau, and Zurich's Felix Züger will be the linesmen in Glasgow, while canton Ticino's Massimo Busacca will serve as the fourth official.

swissinfo with agencies


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