Barcelona have been formally accused of corruption by prosecutors in Spain. In light of this, we’re taking a look at 5 of the most controversial refereeing decisions in Barça games over the years.
Prosecutors in Spain have formally accused Barcelona of corruption.
This is due to Barça allegedly paying millions of euros over several years to a company that belonged to the vice president of Spain’s football refereeing committee.
UEFA have now appointed ethics and disciplinary inspectors to look into payments allegedly made for favourable refereeing decisions.
Barcelona deny any wrongdoing, but it’s now up to an investigating judge whether the accusations should lead to charges.
In light of this news, we’re taking a look at 5 of the most controversial refereeing decisions in Barça games.
5. Chelsea Vs Barcelona, May 2009
This match probably goes down as the most iconic and memorable ties between Barcelona and Chelsea.
Having drawn the first-leg at the Camp Nou 0-0, it was all to play for in the second-leg of the Champions League semi-final at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea were on top from the off, as Michael Essien volleyed home the opener after just nine minutes, but what was to follow was simply unbelievable.
The first major incident of the match came when Florent Malouda got the better of Dani Alves down the left-hand side. Alves brought the Frenchman down in the box, but referee Tom Henning Øvrebø awarded a free-kick just outside the box.
It got worse for the Blues when Didier Drogba was clearly brought down by Eric Abidal in the box, but the referee decided that there was no wrongdoing. Had a foul been given, Chelsea would’ve had a penalty and Barcelona would’ve been reduced to 10-men.
Another mistake from the man with the whistle came after an hour, but this time in Chelsea’s favour. Abidal was shown a red card for a foul on Nicolas Anelka, but replays showed that the Blues forward had dived.
The worst decision came towards the end of the match. Gerard Pique had clearly handled Anelka’s shot inside the box, something that Spaniard later admitted to, but nothing was given again.
Out of nowhere, in added time, Andres Iniesta scored a sensational goal for Barca and it was their only shot on target throughout the entire tie. This ensured their advancement to the final, going through on away goals.
#GoalOfTheDay | Andres Iniesta vs Chelsea (2009) pic.twitter.com/DlxbDe9suY
— EuroFoot (@eurofootcom) February 26, 2023
This caused rage in the Chelsea camp, with Drogba, Michael Ballack and John Terry all confronting the referee at the end of the match.
4. Barcelona Vs Arsenal, March 2011
Arsenal travelled to the Camp Nou with a 2-1 advantage from the first-leg of their last-16 tie, comfortably in the driving seat.
Lionel Messi handed the Blaugrana the lead on the evening in the first-half, before Sergio Busquets scored an own-goal to give the Gunners the lead in the tie once more.
Just three minutes after Busquets’ own-goal disaster struck for Arsene Wenger and his men. Star man Robin van Persie was shown a second yellow card for attempting a shot after the whistle was blown for offside.
The Dutchman was baffled by the decision, pleading to the referee that he didn’t hear the whistle due to the loud crowd noise.
Van Persie was forced to leave the field of play, and Barcelona ended up winning the match 3-1, advancing to the next round in the process.
3. Real Madrid Vs Barcelona, April 2011
In the same Champions League campaign as the controversial Van Persie red card, Real Madrid’s Pepe was shown a controversial red card in the first-leg of the semi-final.
The match was a fiesty one, with several off the ball incidents, with Barcelona’s substitute goalkeeper even being shown a red card for an incident on the touchline.
It didn’t take long after that for a player on the field to be shown their marching orders, as Pepe was shown a straight red card.
Los Blancos were infuriated by the decision, as Dani Alves had dived and the Portuguese defender had in fact made minimal contact with the full-back.
To make matters worse for the hosts, Jose Mourinho was then sent to the stands for challenging the referee’s decision.
Barcelona went on to score two away goals, before drawing 1-1 in the second-leg, advancing to the 2010/11 Champions League final.
2. Barcelona Vs Atletico Madrid, April 2016
The refereeing controversy in this one came in the first-leg of Barcelona’s quarter-final Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid.
Fernando Torres handed the visitors and early lead, but in the 35th minute, the Spaniard was shown a second yellow card.
A mistimed tackle on Busquets was the offence, albeit harsh, the decision was up for debate.
The controversy wasn’t particularly for this decision however.
In the first-half Luis Suarez clearly kicked out at Juanfran, but nothing was given.
The Uruguayan was then shown a yellow card for throwing his hand in the face of Filipe Luis, another red card offence.
Even though he shouldn’t have been on the field, Suarez went on to score two goals, securing a 2-1 victory for Barca on the night.
It wasn’t a happy ending for the Blaugrana this time however, as Atleti won the second-leg 2-0 to advance to the final.
1. Barcelona Vs PSG, March 2017
Deniz Aytekin was the man in charge as PSG travelled to Camp Nou for the second-leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with a 4-0 lead.
It will likely go down as one of the most controversial matches in the competition’s history.
By half-time Barcelona had a two goal advantage, but it was in the second-half where all hell broke loose.
Messi made it 3-0 through a penalty after Neymar was brought down by Thomas Meunier, before Edinson Cavani pulled one back for the Parisiens.
Javier Mascherano then clearly dragged Angel Di Maria down in the box, something he later admitted to, but controversially – no penalty was given.
With a 5-3 aggregate scoreline with just minutes to go, it seemed to be an impossible task for Barca.
In the 88th minute Neymar added another for the hosts with a free-kick. A penalty was then awarded to Barca after Suarez went down with minimal contact.
Neymar converted the spot-kick before Sergi Roberto added another in the dying seconds of the game to advance to the quarter-finals with a 6-5 aggregate victory.
Outraged fans created an online petition for the match to be replayed, with over 200,000 signing on. It was to no avail however, as the Blaugrana secured their spot in the last eight.
4-0 down after the first leg back in 2017, Barcelona needed a miracle in the Champions League against PSG.
40': Kurzawa OG
90+5': Sergi Roberto
La Remontada was incredible 😱
(🎥 via @ChampionsLeague)pic.twitter.com/3DmisGNvG1
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 15, 2021
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