Ligue 1 - Ref to make Ligue 1 debut in top game

Sat, 05 Mar 23:29:00 2011

The referee for Sunday's clash between champions Olympique Marseille and Ligue 1 leaders Lille will be taking charge of his first top flight game after a spat between officials and the French federation.

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Referees had planned to delay the kick off of this weekend's Ligue 1 matches by 15 minutes in protest at what they see as a lack of respect from clubs.

However, the federation said it would not stand for such behaviour and has replaced the officials with referees who usually work in the third division, some of whom have no top-flight experience.

Johan Hamel, 30, has only ever been a fourth official in Ligue 1 four times.

Media reports said the federation had tried to bring in a top referee from neighbouring Italy for the Marseille game but that Italian officials had refused to co-operate in solidarity with their French colleagues.

Italian referee Pierluigi Collina officiated in a Marseille league game with Olympique Lyon in 2003.

Reuters

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