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6:00 AM UTC May 31, 2016
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By ESPN Staff

Dutch referee dismisses bias claim as 'ludicrous'

The referee at the centre of the controversial penalty decision in Arsenal's Champions League clash with Liverpool has dismissed suggestions of bias as 'ludicrous'.

Dutch official Pieter Vink waved away appeals for a spot-kick after Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt appeared to hold back Alex Hleb in the second half of Wednesday night's quarter-final first leg.

Holland international Kuyt knows Vink well from his time playing for Feyenoord but the official insisted his decision was 100% objective.

'It's ridiculous to say I made the decision because I'm Dutch,' he told the Sun.

'There are many nationalities playing in every team nowadays - Spanish, French, Italians, Brazilians - and it's not an issue. It's a completely ludicrous suggestion.'

Kuyt was equally dismissive, saying: 'I know the ref. When I played for Feyenoord, he was ref for a lot of our games.

'But you could say the same thing about Robin van Persie.

'He also used to play for Feyenoord before joining Arsenal and he'll know Pieter Vink just as well.

'So it is wrong to say the ref did me a favour on Wednesday night just because he knows me.'

Vink's decision not to award a penalty came under fire from FIFA refereeing advisor Mario van der Ende, who claims he made a bad call. 'When you are an official at this level you know you have to get it right - and he didn't,' Van der Ende told the Sun.