NYON: Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli has been awarded the job of controlling Saturday’s Champions League Final between Germany’s Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund at Wembley writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The award for Rizzoli, highly rated by the European federation’s referees supremo Pierluigi Collina, is consolation for his absence from the panel named by world federation FIFA for the Confederations Cup in Brazil next month.
A 41-year-old architect from Bologna, Rizzoli made his Italian Serie A in 2002 and was promoted to the international list in 2007, making his Champions League debut in a tie between Sporting Clube of Lisbon and Basel the following year.
His first match in the knockout stages was the Real Madrid-Lyon tie in March 2010 and the following month he was handed the Manchester United v Bayern Munich tie.
The Germans may see his appointment as a good omen since they hit back in England – albeit Old Trafford not Wembley – from 3-0 down to lose ‘only’ 3-2 and go through on the away goals rule. United had to play most of the second half with 10 after Rizzoli sent off fullback Rafael da Silva for a second card.
Approval for his cool head under pressure saw Rizzoli awarded the subsequent Europa League Final in which Atletico de Madrid defeated Fulham in Hamburg.
Rizzoli has twice been voted Referee of the Year in Italy, handled two matches at the 2011 Club World Cup in Japan, and has been pre-selected by FIFA for next year’s World Cup in Beazil.
At last year’s European Championship finals in Poland and Ukraine he refereed three matches: France-England and Holland-Portugal in the group stage and then the quarter-final in which eventual champions Spain defeated the French 2-0.