Italian chief slams Viola referee

BY foxsports • February 18, 2010

The president of the Italian football federation (FIGC) has lambasted ref Tom Henning Ovrebo after Bayern Munich's victory over Fiorentina.

Ovrebo received death threats last year after a number of controversial decisions in Chelsea's semi-final defeat by Barcelona in the Champions League, and the Norwegian has once again become the focus of attention.

He harshly sent off Massimo Gobbi for an innocuous-looking tackle before allowing Miroslav Klose to remain on the field for what appeared a much more dangerous challenge and, to rub salt into the Fiorentina wounds, it was Klose who nodded in the last-minute winner while clearly offside.

Viola players and staff roundly criticised Ovrebo after the game, which leaves them in a weaker position ahead of the return leg of the last-16 tie, and Abete has added his voice to the protests.

"It was a very serious error above all in this stage of a direct knockout round of the Champions League," said Italian football chief Giancarlo Abete.

"Fiorentina were clearly disadvantaged and, even if it is true that mistakes can happen, it is also true that those of yesterday were too evident: the offside wasn't a question of centimetres but of metres.

"It seems obvious to me that there was a referee who wasn't of the same level as the game."

Abete revealed he called UEFA president Michel Platini this morning, as well as Fiorentina owner Andrea Della Valle, to express his feelings.

He added: "Platini is the first one to be worried by what happened because this kind of refereeing ends up damaging UEFA themselves first of all.

"It's obvious that the referee wasn't in form in so many ways and that he shouldn't have been given such an important match."

Ovrebo made headlines last year when he denied Chelsea a string of seemingly clearcut penalties, while he also harshly dismissed Barca's Eric Abidal.

It is not the first time he has faced criticism from the FIGC. During Euro 2008 he disallowed Luca Toni's goal against Romania for offside, later admitting he had made a mistake.

Ovrebo also angered Juventus fans in the Champions League group stages when he allowed a late Bordeaux equaliser to stand from a clear offside position.

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