Basking in the delight or what may be better described as relief, I sat down on Wednesday morning to Sky's Champions League Goals, in which they show all the goals from all the games the previous night. Initially, this was a rather pleasurable experience for me, seeing Ronaldo and company from Madrid nearly throw away a three goal lead against minnows FC Zurich. However, my viewing turned sour when they showed the Juventus against Bordeaux game.
As the final whistle went in Turin, the cameras switched to the unmistakable image of the match official, Howard Webb's distant relative, Tom Henning Ovrebo. I was outraged. How this man, the man who ruined the integrity of last year's Champions League and subsequently ruined the authority of UEFA was up and refereeing again shocked me. There is no doubt, whatever one's allegiances, that this man denied Chelsea two penalties in their semi-final with Barcelona that could have sent them through to the Champions League final and arguably an additional two penalties while most will agree that Eric Abidal should not have been sent off. Yet that was the first time that Ovrebo had been embroiled in controversy at the highest levels of football. In Liverpool's clash with Inter in 2008, Ovrebo sent off Nicolas Burdisso for an extremely harsh second yellow card and in Italy's Euro 2008 meeting with Romania, he wrongly disallowed a Luca Toni goal for offside and then gave Romania a penalty after a legitimate challenge by Christian Panucci. Furthermore, the Norwegian's reputation was given increasing damage Tuesday night after Bordeaux's offside equaliser was allowed to stand.
With this in regard, it is why I was in disbelief after I saw Ovrebo's face on my screen four months after an Ovrebo-aided heartbreaker. However, this is a wider problem within UEFA. Ovrebo's reappearance in the Champions League came a day after Arsenal's Eduardo's ban for his shameful dive against Celtic was repealed, leaving thousands of football fans nonplussed after they'd all seen an extreme lack of contact from Artur Boruc. UEFA need to start dealing with controversies properly. They made the right decision to ban Eduardo yet inexplicably revoked it. These two issues are interlinked. While UEFA also may have made the right decision to ban Didier Drogba after his outbursts, there clearly needed to be a punishment for Mr Ovrebo, perhaps demoting him to only Europa League matches. The fact that Ovrebo has returned to the Champions League, along with the retraction of Eduardo's ban, has again showed UEFA to often act as an incompetent organisation, partly an effect of Michel Platini's leadership.