Champions League controversy: Barcelona launches official protest over Stark decisions


UEFA referees have come under fire again, this time from two of Europe’s top clubs after first leg Champions League quarter-final controversy this week.

Barcelona has launched a formal complaint with UEFA on Thursday, over Tuesday’s 2-2 tie with Paris Saint-Germain over the performance of German referee Wolfgang Stark.
“We just wish to express our surprise that referees did not apply the rules in Paris,” as statement from club spokesman Toni Freixa.
The Catalan giants took issue with two decisions by Stark, insisting that the referee had made a serious breach of the rules by refusing to allow Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba back onto the field of play during a corner kick. The two players had left the field after collided with each other and Stark also refused to stop play when the incident occurred.

“It is worth calling to attention that a referee at this level does not appear to know such an evident rule,” the statement read.

To make matters worse for Barca, several players and coaching staff claimed PSG’s first goal by Zlathan Ibrahimovic was offside with replays clearly backing up this claim:

“It’s impossible that the referee didn’t see the offside [Ibrahimovic] was two meteres offside,” said Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets after the match. Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura also said that Stark “made some questionable calls,” in his post match statement to the press.
PSG boss Carlos Ancelotti was upset with Stark for his call to award a penalty kick to Barcelona, which Xavi converted for the team’s second goal in the 89th minute.
Meanwhile Galatasaray boss Fatih Terim was less than pleased with Swedish referee Svein Oddvar Moen saying he was “lacking courage” and claiming the ref missed two obvious penalty kick calls in his team’s 3-0 loss to Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Galatasaray claim a penalty should have been awarded when a first half header by Wesley Sneijder his the hand of Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira.
Meanwhile Sergio Ramos somehow escaped a yellow card and spot kick after he stepped on the foot of Galatasaray’s Burak Yilmaz bringing him down in the penalty area.

“I would not like to talk about the penalties because I never comment on referees, but maybe Real Madrid’s big name affected him,” Terim said. “The referee did not have courage. Burak’s foot was stepped on and everyone saw it except for the referee. I think the referee made many mistakes.”

In a baffling decision Moen booked Yilmaz for diving on the play.

Meanwhile Moen also let two high boots by Real Madrid players go in the 20th minute, with Karim Benzema’s raised foot drawing comparisons to a challenge by Manchester United’s Nani which saw him sent off in their Round of 16 match against Real Madrid.

The controversial decisions create an added degree of tension for next week’s fixtures.