Chelsea v Barcelona referee receives death threats

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Controversial referee Tom Henning Øvrebø was understood to have been smuggled out of Britain under police guard Wednesday night after receiving a number of death threats.

Police were said to be so concerned about his safety that they changed his hotel before organising his secret exit from Britain.

Former international referee Graham Poll said: "This morning he’s being smuggled out of our country under police escort - this is a referee of a football match. That is a disgrace."

Øvrebø has become the target of a hate campaign after the Norwegian turned down four penalty appeals and Chelsea crashed out of the competition when Andrés Iniesta scored a 93rd-minute away goal.

The campaign against Øvrebø has echoes of the case of Anders Frisk, a Swedish referee who officiated Barcelona's 2-1 win over Chelsea at the Camp Nou back in February 2005, when José Mourinho was in charge, had a campaign of intimidation directed at him and eventually quit as a referee.

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