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CONTROVERSIAL REF IN CHARGE

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ROMANIAN referee Ovidiu Hategan will be in charge of Celtic’s game in Barcelona  tonight – and he has already been involved in controversy.
The match official came in for scathing criticism of his handling of Manchester City’s European tie at Russian side CSKA Moscow in 2013, with anti-racism body Kick It Out chairman Lord Ouseley saying: “The referee should not be refereeing again.”

Hategan, 36, was accused of not following UEFA protocol when City midfielder Yaya Toure – brother of Celtic’s Kolo – complained of alleged monkey chants by CSKA fans during the match.

UEFA guidelines state that the whistler should have stopped the match and asked for an announcement to be made urging fans to stop such racist behaviour.

A subsequent UEFA investigation cleared Hategan of any wrongdoing regarding the incident.

Republic of Ireland fans were also furious with the ref during their crucial Euro 2016 win over Italy in France in the summer when he refused to award a penalty to James McClean for what appeared to be a blatant foul by Italy’s Federico Bernardeschi.

The Romanian, who is not short of Champions League group stage experience, also handled Poland’s victory over Northern Ireland in France and oversaw Brazil’s Olympic Games semi-final victory over Honduras last month.

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