Ovrebo: I still receive death threats

Whatever happened to referee Tom Henning Ovrebo, who infamously denied Chelsea four penalties in their Champions League semi-final defeat to Barcelona three years ago?


Ahead of Chelsea’s last-four rematch with Barca on Wednesday night, many have rekindled memories of Ovrebo’s performance when he was accused of favouring Barca at Stamford Bridge,

After a goalless draw at the Camp Nou, Chelsea were leading 1-0 against the Catalans when four penalty appeals - two of which looked nailed-on - were waved away by Ovrebo.

Andres Iniesta scored a last-gasp equaliser, putting Barca through on away goals: Chelsea were furious, Didier Drogba infamously telling TV cameras it was "a f***ing disgrace", with Jose Bosingwa calling Ovrebo a "thief" and manager Guus Hiddink saying it was “the worst (performance) I have ever seen”.

Drogba and Bosingwa received bans for their comments, while Chelsea were fined by UEFA. Pep Guardiola’s side would then outplay Manchester United in the final.

Ovrebo, meanwhile, received death threats from Chelsea fans - much like Swedish counterpart Anders Frisk, who decided to retire after Blues supporters harassed him following another Champions League exit to Barca.

Unlike Frisk, though, Ovrebo - who is no stranger to controversy, having been dropped before by both UEFA and FIFA following blunders at international tournaments - chose to solider on, refereeing in Norway’s professional league while working as a psychologist, although he quit international matches after being snubbed for the 2010 World Cup.

One thing hasn’t changed though - he still receives death threats from Chelsea supporters.

"I still get a few death threats but they go straight into the garbage box," he told The Times.

"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."

Ovrebo admitted that he may have made some mistakes during that match, but says he has put it behind him.

"Looking back there are certainly things I would have done differently. I learnt a lot from that experience.

"But all referees will tell you that they have good and bad matches, moments they do well and moments they do not so well, that is all part of the job. I cannot keep regrets about this one match.

"My life has to move on from this."

However, it is unclear how much he learnt from his errors, awarding a clearly offside goal to Bayern Munich during their Champions League win over Fiorentina the following season.

Wednesday's referee will be German Felix Brych, a 36-year-old Doctor of Law whose only major controversy was to send off Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic in the 2-0 win at Otelul Galati earlier this season, although the Serb had clearly gone in late on Gabriel Giurgiu.

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