Champions League ref choices show lack of respect for PSG, sporting director claims

Paris Saint-Germain's unhappy sporting director has demanded an "exceptional" referee for Tuesday's clash with Real Madrid.

Neymar speaks with referee Gianluca Rocchi   -  Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain have been shown a lack of respect with the choice of referees for key Champions League matches, sporting director Antero Henrique has claimed.

The Ligue 1 leaders were unhappy with the performance of Gianluca Rocchi in the 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the first leg of their last-16 tie last month.

Head coach Unai Emery was especially frustrated that Sergio Ramos did not concede a penalty for handball in the meeting at the Santiago Bernabeu, especially after Giovani Lo Celso had conceded a spot-kick for bringing down Toni Kroos, which allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to make it 1-1 before half-time.

PSG were similarly incensed last year at the performance of referee Deniz Aytekin in their dramatic 6-1 defeat to Barcelona in the last-16 second leg at Camp Nou.

Henrique has accused UEFA of putting inexperienced officials in charge of their most important games and has called for an "exceptional" referee for the clash at Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

"[The first leg] was not a game between players and players, there were influences from outside," he told L'Equipe.

"I don't want it to be an excuse, but everyone felt that way. For me, it is a lack of respect for Paris, for France. But it's not just about this game, it was the same last season.

"This is an important question: why is this happening? We had a 44-year-old referee with no experience [in Madrid], in what was supposedly the game of the season.

"If that's the case, then we need one of the best referees [on Tuesday] and we want to have someone of an exceptional level."

There has been speculation around Emery's future at PSG, with some suggesting he will be sacked if they do not overturn their 3-1 deficit to Madrid.

"It's not a topic to talk about now," said Henrique. "He and I decided together to talk about it at the end of the season."

Henrique also insisted there are no fears about Financial Fair Play ramifications despite PSG's significant spending last year, which included a €222million deal for Neymar.

"We are calm. It is more an issue from outside than inside the club," he said. "We have until June, there is no concern, it is not about selling players, since the level of the club is now extraordinary and there is a lot of income.

"Everything is organised and will be in order on June 30."

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