Dinamo: Foreign refs should officiate derbies

ZAGREB - Croatia's football federation said on Tuesday it will discuss a request from champions Dinamo Zagreb to have foreign referees in decisive games this season against archrivals Hajduk Split.

With seven rounds left, Dinamo are on the top with only a point ahead of Hajduk. The two meet in the last round on May 31 in Split and soccer pundits expect it to be the game which will decide who will be champions.

Dinamo and Hajduk also face off in the national cup finals on May 13 in Zagreb and May 28 in Split.

"Dinamo have filed a request to the FA (Football Association) and we will discuss it either on Friday or next week," the FA's secretary-general, Zorislav Srebric, told Reuters.

"They want foreigners to handle only the matches against Hajduk. It is still too early to speculate what the FA will decide."

Dinamo lost twice against Hajduk this season and were particularly unhappy about refereeing in their 2-0 defeat in February in Split.

"We want experienced referees from the best European leagues. Tensions are quite high and our last match in Split justifies our request," Dinamo's director Damir Vrbanovic told the Jutarnji List daily.

Tomislav Zidak, a leading soccer analyst, said he doubted Dinamo's request would be approved.

"I don't believe the FA would accept such an idea. Croatian referees are good and reliable," he said.

"They are under huge pressure before derbies between Dinamo and Hajduk and of course they can make mistakes, but certainly not deliberately."