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Union des Associations Européennes de Football

Referee appointed for UEFA Champions League final

The UEFA Referees Committee today announced that Manuel Enrique Mejuto González will officiate at the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League final between AC Milan and Liverpool FC to be played at the Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadi in Istanbul on Wednesday 25 May 2005, kicking-off at 21.45 local time (20.45 CET).

Published: Monday 23 May 2005, 17.23CET

His assistant referees will be Oscar Martínez Samaniego and Clemente Ayete Plou. The 4th Official will be Arturo Daudén Ibáñez. All four members of the team are from Spain and fall within a close age-bracket. The two referees are 40 and the two assistants 39.

Manuel Enrique Mejuto González is only the third Spanish referee to officiate at a final in this competition. His predecessor in the modern UEFA Champions League era was Manuel Díaz Vega, who handled the 1996 final between Juventus and AFC Ajax in Rome. Before that, one has to track back to the 1969 final in Madrid, where José María Ortíz de Mendíbil was the referee when AC Milan defeated AFC Ajax 4-1.

Manuel Enrique Mejuto González was one of the dozen referees selected for UEFA EURO 2004™, where Oscar Martínez Samaniego was also his First Assistant. He handled Denmark - Italy (0-0) and Netherlands - Czech Republic (2-3). Prior to that, he had been selected for the European Under-18 Championship in 2000; the South American Under-20 Championship in Ecuador in 2001; and the FIFA World Youth Championship in the same year, when he handled the final between Argentina and Ghana.

Born in La Felguera in the region of Asturias on 16 April 1965, he started refereeing at the age of 14 and became a first-division referee in 1995 before winning his FIFA badge in 1999. Since then, he has handled 57 international matches and this will be his 19th in the UEFA Champions League.

This will be his first visit to Istanbul but not his first encounter with the two finalists. He was the referee of AC Milan's last-gasp 3-2 win over AFC Ajax in the quarter-final of the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League which the Italians went on to win. And, in the current campaign, he handled their 1-0 win against Manchester United FC at Old Trafford.

His first meeting with Liverpool FC was when they beat SBV Vitesse 1-0 in Arnhem in a UEFA Cup game played on 28 November 2002 and crossed paths with them again on the final matchday of this season's group phase when the Reds beat Olympiacos CFP 3-1 at Anfield to secure a place in the knock-out phase.

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