UEFA are believed to be “irritated” with Celtic manager Neil Lennon for sending a DVD dossier of complaint about Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco to them.
Lennon was unhappy at Mallenco for not awarding Celtic penalties during the Champions League loss to Juventus last week after his players were manhandled at corner kicks by over-zealous defenders. Lennon revealed on Friday that he had instructed his club to send a DVD to Uefa highlighting the referee’s performance and seeking an explanation for his leniency over the wrestling at corner-kicks.
However, European football’s governing body are set to be far from impressed when the special delivery from Glasgow drops into their mailbox in Switzerland. A Uefa source has stated that they are “irritated” with the development and concerned that it could be seen to influence the refereeing team for the return leg in Turin next month.
And although Uefa willacknowledge receipt of Celtic’s complaints, it is believed to be extremely unlikely they will take any action on any of the Spanish officials who took charge of the game last week.
Mallenco is highly regarded at Uefa and is already on the Fifa list for next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil. He’s also been handed the latest El Clasico game in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final at the Nou Camp later this month between Barcelona and Real Madrid – the third time in just two years he’s been given the responsibility to handle the tie.
Meanwhile, Italian police are insisting on unprecedented security arrangements for Celtic supporters travelling to the return leg of the last 16 tie in Turin next month.
Juventus have told Celtic officials that the name of each fan must be written on his or her individual ticket. Fans are also being told to take photo ID to the Juventus Stadium on6 March and demanding that Celtic ticket staff scrutinise details ahead of the match. If the ticket and ID don’t match up entry would be refused, potentially leading to tension among other fans queuing outside.
One long-standing season ticket holder said: ”I have called off the trip. It could be chaos as IDs are checked against the name on the ticket. I have been going to Celtic games abroad for years and I’ve never had a ticket with my name on it.”
Glasgow and Turin have actually been twin cities for a decade. After the 3-0 defeat last Tuesday, some Celtic supporters shook hands and swapped scarves with the triumphant Italians, but Celtic fans have been warned to take security seriously if they are planning to make the trip to Turin.
Steven Cairney, of the Affiliation of Celtic Supporters Clubs, said fans will have to have their wits about them in Turin.
He said: “When the draw was made in December, I said ‘anyone but Juventus’. We are strongly advising our members who don’t have one of the 2,000 official tickets to steer clear of the Juventus end. I don’t think either club wants Celtic fans in the wrong part of the ground.”
While Celtic bounced back from their Champions League disappointment with a thumping 6-2 win over Dundee United on Saturday, Juventus lost 1-0 at Roma.