What is a referee? Well, according to “The Free Dictionary” the word referee means “An official supervising the play; an umpire.” What is his/her job within sports? As sports fans, we have all at least once thought that refs are corrupt. There are cases where these concepts are true and sometimes they are not. As sports referees, they have a lot to deal with. Not only with the masses of people, but also with the fans and the players who fight in the field. It is definitely not an easy job.
But, why am I writing about referees?
Although some are transparent, clean, and honest; there exist others types that are unfair, cruel and unreasonable. Also, referees act with extreme authority on the pitch and overreact with many types of situations. This being said, I wanted to show the most famous example where the decision of a referee was critical and a game changer within the discipline of soccer.
It was the UEFA Champions League semifinal. Barcelona and Chelsea. That night the blue team was leading with the needed goal difference to make it into the final but things took appeared to shift. Although both teams were really strong and the score favored Chelsea, the referee did not call clear fouls against them. These fouls were not called and seemed clear penalties for Chelsea, therefore, the referee favored Barcelona. As a result, it broke the hearts of many people. Favoring Barcelona throughout the match, the referee called the end of the game. Barcelona had tied the match, being the qualifier to the final game of the tournament.
As a Barcelona fan, I believe this was a mistake. On the other hand, people have certain theories about this night being the one which led Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to their eternal rivalry. Cristiano being the head of Manchester United and Messi being the head of Barcelona, both were taken to their future rivalry that night in 2009. Did UEFA have any apart in this seemingly corrupt refereeing? Were they involved in any kind of bribe to the referee that night?
There are many uncertainties about that Champions League in 2009. But one thing is sure. Referees are not always unbiased. Sometimes they are seen as villains, sometimes they are fair and honest. In the end, they are the ones who make the final call.