Controversial Norwegian referee back in Norway, ready to referee
Oslo – Norwegian referee Tom Henning Øvrebø who was strongly criticized for his role in the European Champions league tie between Barcelona and Chelsea said Friday he is ready to referee again.
Øvrebø turned down four Chelsea penalty appeals and was harshly criticized by several Chelsea players after a last-gasp goal gave Barcelona a 1-1 draw that saw them through to a final against Manchester United on the away-goal rule.
In text messages to Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, Øvrebø on Friday said he had been advised not to give any interviews by European football’s ruling body UEFA. ‘I am not shocked,’ Øvrebø wrote in the text message, NRK reported. The Norwegian football association has listed him to referee the May 16 match between Norwegian teams Brann and Start.
Øvrebø also said he was not in hiding, despite published reports that fans of London side Chelsea had allegedly threatened him. Oslo tabloid Dagbladet reported Friday that Øvrebø has sent his report of the match to UEFA headquarters for assessment.
Chelsea are likely to learn in the next few days if they are to be sanctioned for the behaviour of their players, while Didier Drogba, who had to be restrained by team-mates after the game and Michael Ballack – who chased the referee after a penalty appeal was turned down – could be sanctioned individually.