Tom Henning Ovrebo admits he wishes he had VAR for Chelsea v Barcelona in 2009

Monday marked the 10-year anniversary of one of the most controversial football matches in the sport’s history.


The second leg of Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final against Barcelona will forever be etched into the memory of those who witnessed it live on television.


Andres Iniesta’s dramatic late equaliser for 10-man Barca was not even the biggest talking point of the match.


Norwegian official Tom Henning Ovrebo was instead, with the referee refusing to award Chelsea a penalty after four huge calls for handball.


Some were dubious, but how Gerard Pique’s blatant handball was not spotted by Ovrebo is still baffling today.


The referee has now opened up on the aftermath of that match, admitting he wish he had had the technology available today to help him.

“I wish I had the help of the VAR that day,” said Ovrebo in an interview with Panenka magazine.

“After the first half, my assistants and I felt that we had control. At the end of the match, however, I did not have that feeling. When I got to the dressing room I thought: ‘Okay, Tom Henning, this has not been your best night’.”


Didier Drogba infamously labelled Ovrebo’s performance a “f***ing disgrace” in front of the television cameras, actions which eventually led to a three-match suspension.


He did continue officiating in Norway up until 2013, but the damage to his reputation had been done in west London.


Thankfully, VAR is now in place to prevent the same situation happening again in the future.

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Olajumoke Grace is a sports lover, passionate about football majorly, and loves to blog.

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