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'Match-fix' referee in charge of Hearts tie


PAOLO Bertini, one of the referees embroiled in the Italian match-fixing scandal this year, will take charge of Hearts' UEFA Cup first round, first leg tie against Sparta Prague at Murrayfield tomorrow night.

The 42-year-old official, who has been on the FIFA list for the past three years, was one of eight referees cited in the explosive case which saw Juventus stripped of their last two Serie A titles and demoted to Serie B, while AC Milan, Lazio, Fiorentina and Reggina were forced to start this season with points deducted.

Bertini was eventually cleared by the Italian FA tribunal inquiry into revelations that Luciano Moggi, the former general manager of Juventus, had attempted to influence referee appointments for crucial matches in the 2004-05 season.

Moggi, who was banned from football for five years, was recorded on the telephone requesting that certain referees, including Bertini, be assigned to specific fixtures.

Bertini refereed four of the Serie A fixtures in 2004-05 under investigation, three of them involving Juventus. He was criticised during that season by AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti for failing to award a penalty kick for his team in their 0-0 draw at Juventus.

Bertini was suspended by the Italian FA in February 2003 for decisions made in favour of Perugia during their 4-1 defeat of Inter Milan.

Hearts will hope for better fortune under Bertini's officiating than they experienced in their 5-1 aggregate defeat to AEK Athens in the third qualifying round of the Champions League. Yuri Baskakov, the Russian referee who sent off Julien Brellier and Neil McCann in the second leg of the tie in Greece, was suspended for a month this year for mistakes made in a Russian Premier League fixture.

Taken from the Scotsman

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