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Hauge's finest hour

Norwegian referee Terje Hauge is relishing the chance to be the man in the middle in Monaco.

By Mark Chaplin

Another season of big-game experiences begins for Terje Hauge on Friday, when the Norwegian referee is the man in the middle for the UEFA Super Cup encounter between FC Porto and AS Monaco FC at the Stade Louis II in Monaco.

Latest assignment
The 38-year-old health official from Bergen recently completed duty as one of 12 referees at UEFA EURO 2004™ in Portugal, where he took charge of two matches, and cements his place among the European refereeing élite with this latest assignment which kicks off the UEFA club competition season.

Big match
"It's fantastic to get this appointment," Hauge told uefa.com during a break in his preparations. "It's a big match with a good tradition, with European football looking forward to the start of the new season.

Norwegian team
"The Super Cup will be one of my biggest matches - I'm sure it will be one of my biggest moments as a referee." Compatriots Steiner Holvik and Ole Hermann Borgan will join Hauge as assistant referees, with Tom Henning Øvrebø the fourth official.

Summer break
Hauge has been able to take a holiday after his EURO 2004™ posting, and didn't go far from his tournament base for his recuperation. "I stayed in Portugal for two weeks with my family - and have very good memories," he said.

Warming up
That was soon followed by a return to action in the Norwegian domestic game, but Hauge was glad of the break all the same. "It's much the same as for a player. You prepare for a tournament like EURO 2004™ for six months, and you give a lot of yourself, so when the tournament was finished, it was good to stay with the family and take a break from football - but then again it's good to get back to the football as well!"

Portuguese memories
The Portuguese football experience will remain with Hauge. "There are many good memories. The top European referees have been together so many times now - not only as referees, but also as friends," he said, adding that the team spirit prevalent in Portugal was successfully reinforced by UEFA's decision to appoint referee trios from the same country for all European games.

Cherish the moment
Like all top match officials, Hauge and his assistants relish the big occasion - and he is convinced there will be no pre-game nerves in Monaco. "We are a referee team that enjoys being together for top matches," he said.

Enjoy the game
"We try to joke with each other, and enjoy the moment before and during the match. The last thing that we will say to each other before the Super Cup final on Friday is 'go out and enjoy this football match'."

Step by step
Some referees set targets and goals to spur themselves on over a long campaign. Hauge, by contrast, has always approached his career on a step-by-step basis. "I'm quite relaxed about these things," he explained on behalf of his trio. "We look forward one match at a time, rather than making special targets for the season.

Crowd buzzing
"When a match finishes," he added, "the crowd often show how satisfied or dissatisfied they are. If the crowd is satisfied, it gives the refereeing team a good feeling when they leave the pitch." On Friday, Hauge will be striving to ensure that his performance contributes to the feel-good factor that usually surrounds UEFA's late-summer showpiece.