Champions League scandal

It's been a breathless two nights of football and we have ended up with Manchester United and Barcelona in the final of the Champions League. United won at a canter against Arsenal while Barca squeezed through with an injury time goal against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, their first shot on target. But, should it have come to that?

Uefa like to boast that the Champions League is the best of the best, la crÄ‚¨me de la crÄ‚¨me. Whilst this might be true with regards to the teams playing in the competition, the same cannot be said of Wednesday night's official.

Tom Henning Ovrebo is from Norway and more used to officiating games involving such football power houses as Viking Stavanger, Rosenborg, Molde and Tromso. Now you tell me, how does that make him the right man to oversee a Champions League semi final?

Of course, it’s not his fault he was appointed. Who wouldn’t, in that profession, want to take on such a massive encounter? But the simple facts are these. Chelsea had four claims for penalties, three of them nailed on certainties. All of them were waved away.

Chelsea v Barcelona referee

How many pens did you miss ref? By the way, this is a picture of a hand.

Dani Alves was fortunate not to concede a spot kick in a wrestling match with Florent Malouda that started outside but continued into the area. Eric Abidal’s tug on Didier Drogba’s shirt wasn't seen and handballs by Gerard Pique and Samuel Eto’o also went unpunished after the break (Eto’o’s probably unintentional though his arm was way above his head).

All of which will mean the conspiracy theorists will be out in force. Uefa didn't want another all-English final, they will say, so appointed a referee to ensure they got the result they wanted.

Whilst this is probably wide of the mark, Uefa don't help themselves do they? If this was the most important match played in Europe last night, why wasn't the most important referee assigned to it? A top Italian or German official, used to performing at the highest level, at that pace and with the kind of players on show at Stamford Bridge.

Of course, we'll never know as Uefa never admit that they make mistakes.

Didier Drogba and CL ref

Didier Drogba chats to the ref after the game.

Meanwhile, Barcelona will also point out that Abidal will miss the final after he was red carded for a non-existent foul on Nicolas Anelka. As the TV pictures clearly showed, Anelka tripped himself up. No question. So Abidal, like Manchester United's Darren Fletcher, will sit out the big game in Rome through no fault of his own.

How, in this modern age, can this be allowed to happen? Ask Uefa, but don't expect a straight answer.

When boots go bad

If you believe some of the guff that is written on the web, then you'll be of the opinion that the only reason Ji-Sung Park and Cristiano Ronaldo scored on Tuesday night was because they were wearing Nike football boots.

I'm sure that as Ronaldo lined up his first half free kick he thought to himself: śI may be 41 yards from goal but I'm going to have a dig as I reckon the Flywire technology in my Superfly's gives me a real chance.ť Or then again, it could be that he has unshakeable belief in his own ability.

This type of positive spin is all well and good in itself provided you understand that it's being written for one reason and one reason only – to sell you the football boots in question.

Apparently, Park’s lung busting display was down to the comfort of his Tiempo’s. Well, my Mum’s slippers are comfy but I doubt she’d be able to put in that type of display. No, you need some talent and an awful lot of fitness for that. Comfortable boots can assist a player, but they can’t turn him in to something he’s not.

Indeed, later on today, you’ll probably see a few pieces which will suggest that Barcelona have reached the CL final purely because Andres Iniesta happens to wear the Total 90 Laser II.

Andres Iniesta football boots

The boots wot won it. Iniesta’s T90’s.

But of course, they never report the down side do they? It's as if this part of the game just doesn't exist. So, in order to provide a balanced approach, here's the other side of the coin.

Kieran Gibbs fell over on Tuesday and presented Manchester United with their opening goal.

Gibbs wears the Nike Tiempo Air Legend II.

Didier Drogba had Chelsea's best chance of the night against Barcelona but failed to roll the ball in to a half empty net or chip it over a prone goalkeeper.

Didier Drogba wears the Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly.

This is not a dig at Nike. They didn’t write the articles concerned. Merely a request that if people ‘big up’ a boot in one instance, they must surely highlight the bloopers in another.

You know it and I know it. Shame some football boot writer's don't.

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  1. says: keil leisk

    Absolute ridiculous game last night. Drogba along with ballack should get imposed with a MASSIVE fine, these are two of the top teams in europe and they perform like that?
    Granted… chelsea should of been awarded at least one penalty. As for Drogba… after clearly stating his profiant language after the game directly to the cameras, sorry, but he gained two clear chances in the game that he should of slotted away! Cannot wait for the final! A game that will undoubtedly be the best the world has ever seen.

    1. says: Jack

      it wont be, too many world class players are suspended, Ballack and Drogba acted in the way they did because of a reason, that referee was a discrace, The match should get replayed, (resetting the suspensions) and Overobo Should get sacked.

  2. says: Aussie Lad

    I cannot formulate enough words on how much i agree with you on the boot writers talking up the boots.
    This is the most genius of marketing ploys yet it doesn’t quite help the person buying, they may be buying lemons because their foot isn’t the same as cristiano ronaldo, just to have the boots cristiano ronaldo has. A bit of a disgrace yet oh so cunning.

  3. says: sbe7

    i agree drogba and ballac should get a huge fine! they play in one of the biggest leauges in the world and act like children? any way øvrebø is a good referee

    1. says: Jack

      øvrebø is the worst referee I have seen at top level. He is not a good referee. I think he should be sacked from uefa games and go back to the norwegian leagues.

  4. First UEFA and FIFA have standards for its refs, so if a guy is a UEFA ref he is qualified to ref any match in Europe be it a final or just a first round match.
    Second none of the tackles made by Barcelona were fouls, come aren’t you the guys who say football is sport of contact so there u go.
    Third the hand balls, Piquet’s the ref could see it unless he had an x-ray vision and Etoo’s well that could’ve been a penalty.
    Fourth Barcelona deserved to go through they’ve played a much better football than Chelsea. Chelsea made a huge mistake of scoring at home in a CL semi-final and sitting back thinking the game was in the bag.

  5. says: Lorien Gordon

    OMDZZZZ i wanted barca to go though so much as a united fan…that is the final i wanted….but what happend at stamford bridge is clllleeeeaaarlllyyy WRONG!!!!! How chelsea did not have a penaly is crazy and UEFA must answer questions…its a conspiracy against the premier league…they hate to see it successful and i want to see what plans Uefa have for the final when the best team in the world come up against barca and do our league justice….no matter how much i hate chelsea..there is no way that they should not have had a penalty…i cant blame these top players for their behavior..its not easy playing in the champions league and getting there so to have some one throw it away for you must be so emotional..UNITED TO WIN IN ROME!!!

  6. says: chadwick

    all i can say is its disgraceful what unfolded last night!! but fair play drogba! as much as i hate him wat he was saying is correct! its a disgrace. great point by him and the way he said it nothing wrong with a bit of passion!!!

  7. says: Hugh

    At the start of the season everyone was complaining saying that Drogba had no passion now everybody is complaining about him having passion. The ref was a disgrace and well done drogba. I am not a big fan of Drogba myself but what he did was good.
    Players will start to respect referees if the refs do a decent job with only a few mistakes. The proof is the English Premier League, look at the respect for refs campaign.
    bring in a referal system using video technology. manager/captain can ask for a decision to be reffered to a video replay (like rugby) but only once a match. The game would still be the same just with a bit more controversy and then everybody is happy and there will be some real things to talk about and big decisions will be made correctly.

  8. says: imthatgeezer

    HAHAHAHA Barca has no defence against the greatest strikers in the world hhhmmmmm i wonder whos gonna win Barcas reserves v Ronny, Rooney, Tevez, Berba good god man its going to be like shooting fish in a barrel

  9. says: martincillo

    im happy cause barcelona win, chelsea is a big big club, and play only defending with ten players at own side:S

  10. says: keil leisk

    Jack… im sorry but your clearly a chelsea fan and your points confirm this. Overabo has been around for many a year now, been a very good referee throughout his career. Fair enough they POSSIBLY should of had one penalty for the hand ball from pique, granted, but how drogba can call the whole game a disgrace I do not know. He had MANY chances to finish the game so I feel he along with the chelsea have themselves to blame… thinking they had gained the result they wanted. Man Utd to win the final 3-1.

  11. says: Jose Luis

    Even though I am a Real Madrid fan, I must admit I was with Barcelona for this match. I agree with you about the penalties and all that stuff but during the first game in Barcelona, Chelsea players made a lot of fouls that should have recieved a yellow or even a red card and they left clean. Some of the Chelsea players should not have played the second match and I have heard no complaints about that. Come on, enjoy the final and lets analyze the game more with the brain and less with the heart.

  12. says: Matt

    lol anyone else think the when boots go bad bit is a sneaky dig, this makes me think so

    “If you believe some of the guff that is written on the web, then you’ll be of the opinion that the only reason Ji-Sung Park and Cristiano Ronaldo scored on Tuesday night was because they were wearing Nike football boots”

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