So Italy's Roberto Rosetti gets the nod to ref the Euro 2008 final on Sunday. he's been on top form throughout the tournament and has been consistent all the time. However Lubos Michel, ref of the Champions League final and Germany's Herbert Fandel could have been expected to get the match.
Fandel was the enormously patient ref of the Spain v Italy quarter final, a game of 51 fouls that was completely spoiled by the cynical trips of both teams that constantly disrupted the flow of the game. I for one am not at all sad to see the Italians knocked out. Unfortunately for Fandel, Germany are still in the tournament so he can't referee any more.
Lubos Michel looks to have suffered becasue he reversed a red card and once again UEFA's justification - as with the famous Van Nistelrooy 'offside' earlier in the tournament - looks to have been cobbled together after the event.
Michel had just shown a Russian defender his second yellow and the red for a foul on a Dutch player near the Russian goalline. The linesman flagged, clearly indicating to Michel that the ball had gone out of play before the foul took place. So Michel gave a goal kick and rescinded the second yellow card. This is wrong. It doesn't matter if the ball is out of play or not. A foul is a foul and either does or does not merit a card. UEFA said after the game that the linesman had persuaded Michel not to award a card., Poppycock. The linesman was 50 yards from the action and Michel was 15 yards away. Who had the better view? Michel of course.
So UEFA saves itself the embarrassment of having to admit a mistake but Michel - Kremlin-like - gets his pounishment by being banished into exile.