Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
“I still get a few death threats but they go straight into the garbage box. I don’t take them seriously, although sometimes I wonder about the people who send them. Just yesterday I got an email from a Chelsea fan saying he wanted to kill me and my family. Everyone who knows the laws of the game knows I should have done things differently, but that’s the life of a referee.” - Tom Henning Ovrebo.
With the Chelsea-Barcelona Champions League semi-final first leg just hours away it seems like the pertinent time to return to 2009 and run the rule over one of the most famous encounters ever in the competition’s history.
It was May 6, 2009 and after Guus Hiddink’s Chelsea had secured a 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp, Barcelona are generally perceived to have ridden their luck at Stamford Bridge, with many claiming a UEFA conspiracy to ensure the Catalans would play Manchester United in the “dream final.”
Didier Drogba’s post match rant of it being a “f***ing disgrace” and Michael Ballack chasing after the referee mean most neutrals believe Chelsea were cheated of a place in the 2009 final after the 1-1 draw sent Barcelona to Rome on away goals.
It didn’t take long for videos such as this to highlight all of Ovrebo’s mistakes. But is the truth in fact that both team’s were affected by an inept performance – after all the Norwegian official told The Times today “I should have done things differently” but doesn’t come down on one side or the other.
Barcelona, who had been denied what looked to be a clear penalty in the first leg, had Eric Abidal sent off with just over half-an-hour to go and their equaliser was a fair and square goal. Ovrebo didn’t discriminate, he was just useless!