by MONITOR
TWO blatant penalty offences and two other arguable penalties against Chelsea were ignored and a Barcelona player was sent off for an offence he probably did not commit. On BBC Radio yesterday morning Graham Poll, the senior English referee, gave it as his opinion that the Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebow, who was in charge of the Champions League semi-final at Stamford Bridge, had experienced “a bad day at the office”. That is not good enough. The issues between Chelsea and Barcelona - sporting, prestigious and financial - were far too weighty to have been put in the hands of an incompetent referee who would not even consult his assistants when he needed to.

Neither side deserved to lose this game but if one had to it should have been on the basis of a refereeing performance on a par with the skills of the players. There is a lot of talk about introducing cameras to help the referee to determine whether the ball has crossed the goal-line. How often is this necessary? Yet in almost every game played there are decisions of critical importance that would benefit from review by instant camera evidence. How long will it be before the football authorities get to grips with this issue?

Meanwhile, the loss of discipline by some Chelsea players must be condemned. Fortunately their behaviour was balanced by John Terry's visit to the Barcelona dressing room to congratulate the winners. “He's a true gentleman,“ said Pep Guardiola, Barcelona's coach, of the Chelsea captain.