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Barcelona files complaint with UEFA over refereeing in PSG match

Apr 5, 2013, 2:52 PM EDT


Barcelona have filed a formal complaint with UEFA regarding Wolfgang Stark’s refereeing in Tuesday’s 2-2 Champions League draw with Paris Saint-Germain.

The criticism concerns two incidents –  Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba’s collision in the second half (pictured) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal that leveled the score at 1-1 in the 79th minute.

The Blaugrana’s main argument concerns the collision whereby Stark refused to stop the game. Barcelona’s spokesman, Toni Freixa, explained the basis for the complaint: “The club has written to Uefa due to a series of incidents on the pitch in the understanding that objectively speaking it was evident that the referee did not apply the rules of the game.”

“When two players from the same team are on the floor the referee should stop the match, which did not happen. What’s more he then obliged them to leave the pitch, in contravention of the rules.

“It is an incident that is sufficiently serious in a competition like the Champions League to bring to Uefa’s attention so that it does not happen again.”

Freixa is wrong. When two players from the same team are on the floor the referee has the option to stop the match but only if the run of play permits doing so. In other words, it’s discretionary. How Freixa & Co. are unaware of this boggles the mind as it’s a basic premise that coaches around the globe drill into the minds of every three year old who steps onto a pitch –  ‘Play to the whistle!’

Which is exactly what PSG did. They were in the box, had an opportunity to score, took that opportunity and (notably) failed to convert. Stark made the correct decision.

Plus, imagine the repercussions if football adopted Barcelona’s rule that the whistle must blow every time a player goes to ground? Every couple of minutes the referee would have to blow the play dead, especially in Barcelona matches given how often they dramatically flop to the turf.

Such a rule would be a disaster. Injury time would stretch from three minutes to 15 minutes. Physios would be running around the pitch like monkeys in a banana flophouse. Fans would grow bored and more likely to reach into their pocket for projectiles to throw at John Terry.

Point being – Barcelona need to suck it up. They filed a similarly petty complaint last March after Milan held them to a scoreless draw in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final. The basis for that petition – the state of the San Siro pitch wasn’t up to par. Two draws. Two frivolous complaints. Looks an awful lot like sour grapes.

It’s time the world’s best football club mans up, takes a page out of Lionel Messi’s book and stops complaining – both on the field and off.

  1. goonah4life - Apr 5, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    FINALLY someone calls out Barcelona for their incessant whining and flopping. While I will not argue that the football they play is usually top class their antics have gone WAY too far.

    As was discussed previously on this site most teams in the game (even the Italian national team) have stopped falling over with apparent broken legs every time there is a stiff breeze. The main exception to this is Barcelona. Not only do players like Pedro and Sergio make the most of every tiny knock they receive, but each time they do their 10 other teammates accost the referee as though he committed the offense himself. Xavi may be a tidy player but his incessant whining to the officials does nothing to enhance his reputation as a footballer.

    Given Barcelona are constantly rolling around on the ground how was Wolfgang Stark supposed to have any idea that Alba and El Raton were actually injured this time?!? When you cry broken ankle every challenge the officials at some point will stop believing you. To file a complaint with FIFA makes Barcelona look like the worst thing there is in football: poor sports. They couldn’t win outright so they lodge a complaint?!? BOO-bleeping-HOO! It is unlikely that PSG end Barca’s Champions League campaign next week at the Nou Camp but I for one will be pulling for them. Not because I’m a particularly ardent PSG fan (though I am) but because Barca’s antics have gone too far.

    By the way, if you have no idea who I was referring to when I mentioned Sergio above I didn’t really expect you to. No one on this planet does except for Mr Sergio Busquets himself, who for some bizarre reason has decided to don his first name on his jersey. He must have mistaken himself for someone with a shred of talent because there is absolutely no chance anyone will ever refer to him by his first name. Get over yourself buddy and just be thankful your teammates continue to make you look good. Without them you’d simply be known as one of the softest floppers in the game. Not a good look.

    • Michael Prindiville - Apr 5, 2013 at 5:14 PM

      Amazing comment. Glad someone has my back on this. And great call on “Sergio”. I’m never calling Busquets, “Sergio.”

      There’s only one Sergio in my life it’s from that TV commercial from a few years back about that guy named Sergio who was a well known party hound who traveled the world prompting his followers to ask — “Youuuu know Sergioooo?????”

      • unclemosesgreen - Apr 5, 2013 at 7:44 PM

        If anyone wants to be Sergio, obviously it would have to be Ramos. That’s one of the things that drives me mad about America’s most useless social commenter, one “Toure”.

        That guy goes “one name”? If it wasn’t for Kola Toure, Yaya would be a one-name all-star. This American twit is maybe the 8th most famous Toure and he decides that’s his sobriquet? Just another example which proves that American narcissism is the worlds biggest and most unwanted commodity.

    • unclemosesgreen - Apr 5, 2013 at 7:48 PM

      Not an amazing comment. As an American soccer fan who appreciates both Barcelona and Real Madrid, I definitely take exception.

      I root for both Q.P.R. AND the Goonahs, so we agree on the way the game should be played if nothing else.

      There are players on Barca who flop. I abhor flopping. When I played I’d rather punch myself in the nuts than let someone have the satisfaction of even THINKING they’d knocked me over. But CR7 goes over if you breathe on him. And Lionel Messi will ALWAYS try to make a play on the ball if he can. Even if you knock him over. You’re over-generalizing.

      • scoocha - Apr 6, 2013 at 3:46 PM

        Flopping makes the sport look stupid – so stop it.

    • gamustangdude - Apr 8, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      First of all everyone team has floppers as bad as or worse than Barcelona, so Barcelona isn’t alone there. Second, it’s the coaches / administrators deciding to put in a formal complaint, not the players themselves. I understand you don’t like Barcelona, but to simply criticize them for doing what 90% of clubs do especially in La Liga, just shows how much you hate Barcelona and how little you know of the game. In your own words, you don’t like Barcelona? BOO-bleeping-HOO find something else to cry about and further toot your “I HATE BARCELONA” whistle. And I didn’t even mention that BS non offside’s call, that warrants an f-ing complaint all by itself. These refs need to be held more accountable for their actions.

  2. unclemosesgreen - Apr 5, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Whatever they have to do to get that ref bumped lower down the charts. He was abysmal. Zlatan was 5 yards offsides on his goal, it was really an embarrassment to the sport. Another guy was in an almost equally offsides position at the same moment – it was just so blatant. The referee’s assistants also had horrific games.

    • Michael Prindiville - Apr 5, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      It’s just such a poor look for a club to continually whine like this. Refs miss calls, they get bumped down – no need to file a complaint to make that happen.

      • unclemosesgreen - Apr 5, 2013 at 7:03 PM

        I hear you – but I’d rather read about 1,000 club appeals than see another single referee or assistant confrontation.

    • scoocha - Apr 6, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      Zlatan was offside but it’s a terrible rule. Offense should benefit from rebounds off post or goalkeeper.

      • unclemosesgreen - Apr 6, 2013 at 6:01 PM

        So now we’re making up rules? How about another ball gets rolled onto the field every five minutes without a goal? How about if everyone can use their hands as long as they dribble the ball like a basketball?

      • scoocha - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        I know it’s sounds stupid but it should be changed immediately.

  3. doublezero74 - Apr 5, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Now who’s whining? You two Jamokes. First off barca do not flop around like fish anymore than most clubs. Because they are exceptional (you fools obviously don’t recognize how historically good that is). The refereeing was terrible and they complained about it. End of story. I seem to remember Chelsea fans and players freaking out about the CL match with arcs a few years back. That wasn’t whining?

    In reality it’s the fact that its barca we are talking about not Porto or Arsenal or some other middling outfit, that gets you all fired up. Appreciate great football When you see it.

    • unclemosesgreen - Apr 5, 2013 at 7:53 PM

      Thank you. The refereeing was abysmal. I love the beautiful game, and hate when referees make a mockery of the result.

    • unclemosesgreen - Apr 5, 2013 at 7:55 PM

      Here’s the thing about Arsenal. They’ve obviously drifted from CL to Europa League quality, but that’s strictly a budgetary issue. They play the game the right way, and Cazorla excepted, they don’t dive.

      Arsenal have always played the game the right way. So you wanted to poke at Goonah4life, fine. But give the Gunners their due. They’re known for class, and not just recently. For a long time now.

  4. doublezero74 - Apr 5, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Sergio is a world class player that has played a vital role in securing World Cup, euro, CL, and La Liga championships. He must be terrible! He can wear Sergio on his jersey with pride of accomplishment. Maybe you people talking trash about him can wear “idiot” on your kits

    • wisine - Apr 6, 2013 at 9:56 AM

      Excellent comment!

    • wisine - Apr 6, 2013 at 10:17 AM

      Especially the author of this article

  5. doublezero74 - Apr 5, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    You’re right that I chose arsenal for that example because of the audience I was trying to reach. I too have respect for that club and how they go about their business, last two years notwithstanding.

    That being said, why all the backlash towards Barcelona? I applaud a club who promote from within and play forward brand of football rather than playing not to lose. embellishment happens in every game, and yes even in the premiership. And if barca wish to lodge a complaint about the refereeing I think it’s merited. Also the author of this article harps on only one aspect of this complaint. The offsides call was simply impossible to miss.

    • wisine - Apr 6, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      It amazes me how the author of this article can make such subjective comments. I think he is the one that should ‘man up”. Obviously he is a Barcelona hater since he is doing nothing but display his cheap emotions. Shame on NBC sport.

      • wisine - Apr 6, 2013 at 10:20 AM

        Yes, I am referring to Michael Prindiville

  6. Mike Prindiville - Apr 8, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Glad to see the article got a lot of readers to hit the comment button here – I wrote it for exactly that reason.

    I’m not a Barca hater but I do think that some players, namely Sergio Busquets, Pedro and Dani Alves still flop too much. My disdain for the flopping (and the group surrounding of the referees) is that it’s bad for the game. That being said the majority of other players on Barca (especially Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, etc) never flop.

    Flopping aside, this article is about Barca lodging a complaint based on a ref not blowing the whistle while the play was live. Does anyone really feel that’s a legitimate claim for Barca to argue? If so, I’d love to hear why.

    Keep up the banter fellas – I’m liking the passion.

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