Martin Hansson, the referee who gave Steven Gerrard a controversial penalty in the Champions League match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid, is getting some harsh criticism that goes far beyond the normal paper talk.
Hansson revealed he had to change his phone number in the weeks following the game. “I have received death threats. It has been horrible and feels very uncomfortable,” he said. “I had enough. The phone rang all the time and I had a great many text messages. I am pretty used to this, but now I’ve had enough. It has been very threatening. I feel completely fed up, quite simply. I have always had my mobile phone on and my number has been on the network. Now it no longer works. I’m sad that I can’t be as open as I once was.”
Hansson pointed to the spot in the fourth minute of stoppage time of the game at Anfield, which Atlético were winning 1-0 at the time, for what he perceived to be a push on Gerrard from Mariano Pernia. The decision could yet cost the Spanish club a place in the last 16 of the Champions League, and has since been derided by many at Atlético and in the Spanish media, who Hansson holds partly to blame for the threats. (The Guardian)
This is a sad story for indeed. Referees are constantly put under a microscope for their bad calls on the pitch. Whilst most are warranted, there should be a grace period where after a week the papers stop talking about the call. There is much that can be done after the match. Hansson apologized for the mistake, and that should have been more than enough. Apparently Madrid supporters still haven’t gotten over it. Maybe someone forget to tell them that they actually drew the match? You get a point for that ya know…