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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2006, 19:02 GMT 20:02 UK
Final linesman denies Barca bias
By Simon Austin and Philip Gordos

Barcelona and Arsenal badges
One of the linesmen for the Champions League final has protested his impartiality after being photographed in a Barcelona shirt on Monday.

Norwegian Ole Hermann Borgan wore the shirt for a photoshoot with his local newspaper, Drammens Tidende.

"There is no reason to doubt my impartiality - I don't support either of the teams," Borgan said.

Uefa has no plans to replace Borgan for the final in Paris on Wednesday, a spokesperson told BBC Sport.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said: "I never go into a game looking at the referees. I always have a positive feeling about them. They always do the job as well as they can and in an honest way.

"The fact that one of the guys is pictured in a Barcelona shirt doesn't change my mind."

And his Barca counterpart Frank Rijkaard added: "Arsenal should give him a shirt straight away and take a photo. Then we will be levelled.

"I really don't think it makes any difference, as far as I know he was on holiday."

The newspaper wanted Borgan to wear both Arsenal and Barcelona shirts for the photoshoot, according to its sports editor Per Jan Brekke.

There is an unwritten rule that officials must not do anything which will cast doubt on their impartiality
Rune Pedersen
Norway's referees' chief

But the official found out he only owned a Barca shirt - and this was the picture that appeared in Tuesday's edition of the paper.

"It was both insensitive and stupid of me. I did not think deeply enough about the situation and the consequences when I was asked to dress up in the shirt," Borgan said.

The officials for the final will all be Norwegian, with Terje Hauge the main man in charge. Steinar Holvik and Borgan will run the lines.

"We are on our way to Paris to do a good job - nothing more, nothing less," Borgan said.

Norway's referees chief, Rune Pedersen, agreed that Borgan had been unwise to pose in the shirt.

"There is an unwritten rule that officials must not do anything which will cast doubt on their impartiality," he said.


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