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The 5 Most 'UNIQUE' cases of Refereeing Blunders

Debjit Lahiri
1.54K   //    04 Mar 2011, 15:51 IST

Being a referee is surely not my "AIM OF LIFE"

This Tuesday saw yet another twist in the title race as Chelsea came from behind to pawn the league leaders  Manchester United courtesy of a late winner by Frank Lampard. However, many critics displayed their anger on the referee Martin Atkinson whose decision to award the penalty which resulted in the winner, was considered as ‘soft’ and ‘biased’. To make matters worse for the referee, many even doubted his credibility as he decided to ignore David Luiz’s “of the ball” incident with Wayne Rooney which in all fairness should have been a second bookable offence . However, on the other hand, many counter-critics laughed off the incident and were swift to point out  Manchester United’s ‘poor memory’. Off-course they were referring to the whole “Howard Webb saga”.

So, with referees and their blunders taking all the centre stage over the past few days, I decided to take a look over the most unique cases of refereeing disasters over the last century. Take a note that these esteemed panel of referees who have found their names and their dubious actions in this elite list are only based on club level matches(not international matches). So,here you go-

Lost in the Fog eh?

Lets start off with a classic from the pre-historic era. Probably this is the very reason that there is  no record of exactly who the referee was. White Hart Lane was the destination and 1945 the year. An Arsenal side were up against Dynamo Moscow. All of a sudden, a dense fog descended on the pitch. The kind-hearted referee decided not to abandon the match as he felt the visitors had travelled a long way to reach London. Citing the chaos, it was just a matter of time before the “original sin” within a man(or a footballer to be precise) would eventually come out. And so it came out as an Arsenal player was sent off for fighting, but very secretly sneaked back on again in the fog. Then the Russians joined the party. They substituted a player, but never sent their player off. Indeed, there were strong suspicions, that throughout the game, the Russian side secretly increased from 11 players to 15! The problem was that no-one could actually see enough to count them. The final confusion happened when the Arsenal goalkeeper became disorientated in the fog, ran into the goal post and knocked himself out. He was replaced by a member of the crowd.
Thankfully it was not an Arsenal side managed by Arsene Wenger. Even if it was him,  certainly it would not have been hard to predict his post match comments- ” I ZSAAWW NAATHING!!” :P


I hate penalties!!!


The Ovrebo-Robbery!!

Back to the modern era but still in London. No prizes for guessing. Its Tom Henning Ovrebo. An high voltage semi-final clash between Barcelona and Chelsea took off in a riveting fashion as Michael Essien scored a gem of a goal to sneak Chelsea ahead in the tie. But what followed, was rather astonishing to say the least. The referee decided to overlook not 1 not 2 but as many as 5 possible penalty claims by Chelsea. The replays should that those were indeed valid claims. The result was Barcelona scored a late equalizer and Chelsea were knocked out courtesy of the away goal rule. The fit of rage and feeling of injustice gripped throughout the Stamford Bridge and Didier Drogba was famously quoted in live camera – ” He is a ……” (err…!! we may well leave out the last part :P)


The “Optical Illusion”

Huh! Whats that?? Well, it was the term used by referee Stuart Atwell to explain his decision to allow a Reading goal against Watford in 2008.  The ball was hooked wide of the goal, but cleared away from the area. However, both the linesman and the referee managed to give it a goal, despite the ball being miles away from the goal and not even touching the net. Mr. Atwell! I am not a pioneer of physics but “Optical Illusion” is not enough for you to run away from my “Hall of Shame.”

The Ball Boy Goal!!

Now, we turn our head to the land of South America. A Brazilian referee Oliviera awarded the most horrendous of goals you will ever see. The ball went out for a goal-kick and the ball boy gently kicked the ball inside the pitch with his 1st touch and then rather mischievously nudged the ball inside the net. The goal was allowed  and Santacruzense managed to snatch a 1-1 draw at home to Atletico Sarocaba. Check the video out.

The Ball Boy Goal

The Unlucky Ref!!!

Back again to the pre-historic era but this time in Italy. It was the match between Genoa and Bologna in First Division North-Play-off Final. Comfortable at Half time with a 2-0 lead,Genoa continued to dominate in the second half. Bolognese striker Muzzioli took a shot at goal which was tipped round the post by Genoa keeper De Pra. This was followed by a pitch invasion by some  black-shirted goons  led by Leandro Arpinati, a fascist leader. The intruders surrounded the ref and he was forced to change his decision and give it as a goal instead of a corner. Bologna later managed to equalize and the match was drawn. In the consequent matches held to decide the tie, Genoa emerged as losers and were eliminated. Dear ref and Genoa!  feel sorry for them!

A few more of these typical incidents come to my mind but i leave it you guys to come up with them. After all, these poor refs who tirelessly work for the beautiful game need some respite from the taunts.Cheers!

Debjit Lahiri
25, MBA student - IMT Ghaziabad. Erstwhile Engineer and massive sports enthusiast. Formerly Associated with India. Also published with Firstpost, Sportskeeda, Zee News etc.
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