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Tom Henning Øvrebø
Personal information
Full name Tom Henning Øvrebø
Date of birth 26 June 1966 (1966-06-26) (age 43)
Place of birth Oslo, Norway
Other occupation Psychologist
Years League Role
1992– Tippeligaen Referee
Years League Role
1994– FIFA Referee

Tom Henning Øvrebø (born 26 June 1966) is a Norwegian football referee. Born in Oslo, Øvrebø is a UEFA Elite referee, who has refereed matches in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League. He works as a psychologist outside of football.[1] Øvrebø is currently ranked as an Elite referee in the UEFA Referees Categories.[2] There has, on a number of occasions, been criticism of his performance, once during the Euro 2008 and last in the Champions League 2009 and 2010.




Domestic level

Øvrebø has refereed over two hundred games in the Norwegian Premier League since his debut on 20 September 1992. He represents the club Nordstrand. In 1994, he became an authorised FIFA referee. He won the Kniksen award as referee of the year in the Norwegian Premier League for 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006. He refereed the Norwegian cup finals of 1999 (RosenborgBrann) and 2006 (FredrikstadSandefjord).

Euro 2008

He was chosen to referee at Euro 2008 — his first major tournament and the first time he was chosen over fellow countryman and colleague Terje Hauge. He refereed the GermanyPoland match on the opening day of Group B. He refereed the ItalyRomania match, which resulted in a 1–1 draw. The Italian Football Federation later demanded an apology from UEFA after Luca Toni’s goal was incorrectly ruled out for offside in the Italy—Romania match that Øvrebø refereed.[3] There was also criticism of the official for a penalty shot given to Romania and a yellow card to Daniele De Rossi at the ending moments of the game. Afterwards, Øvrebø admitted he had made a mistake about the offside decision, which had also been flagged by his assistant.[4] Øvrebø was one of six referees not assigned a match in the knockout stages of Euro 2008.[5]

UEFA Champions League 2008–09

Øvrebø was the target of further criticism when refereeing the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg between Chelsea and Barcelona on 6 May 2009, turning down at least four penalty appeals by the Chelsea team, and also sending off Barcelona left-back Eric Abidal, though replays show that he apparently did not touch Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka.[6] After the final whistle, several Chelsea players confronted Øvrebø on the field including substituted Didier Drogba, who was recorded shouting "it's a fucking disgrace" into live television cameras.[7] Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink labelled the referee's performance as the "worst he has ever seen".[8] Chelsea defender José Bosingwa also had harsh words for Øvrebø, saying "I don't know if he's a referee or a thief", though he later admitted regretting his choice of words.[9][10] Øvrebø was believed to have been smuggled out of England by police in fears for his safety after receiving a number of death threats. Chelsea quickly moved to distance the club from these threats by reporting via their website "Following media reports claiming threats have been made against the referee, Chelsea Football Club would like to make clear that it condemns any form of threat against players, officials or supporters".[11]

Drogba was subsequently banned for 4 matches (plus 2 matches suspended for two years) by UEFA for his behaviour, and Bosingwa was banned for 3 matches (plus one suspended). As part of the same judgement, the club was fined £85,000 for improper conduct on the part of Chelsea players and fans.[12] Following an appeal by both players, personally attending a hearing in Switzerland, they have both had their bans reduced by one match.[13] Prior to the semi-final, Øvrebø had also handled 21 other Champions League games among a total of 48 UEFA matches overall.[14]

UEFA Champions League 2009–10

Øvrebø was once again the center of controversy during the first-leg knockout match between Bayern Munich and Fiorentina. After the match, Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli was furious with the referee and linesman. “We did everything right on the field. We only failed to double up our marking on the linesman,” he joked. “There were some incidents that changed the game — Massimo Gobbi's dismissal, Miroslav Klose not getting sent off and the offside goal.”[15]

TV evidence showed and Bayern players and officials admitted that the winning goal scored in the games' last minutes was indeed an offside goal. Asked about the incident, Bayern coach Louis van Gaal stated his support for the introduction of “technical aids” for the referee.[16]

2010 World Cup

In the group stages of the qualification to the 2010 World Cup, Øvrebø refereed the ArmeniaTurkey and BelgiumSpain matches, as well as the potentially fiery SlovakiaCzech Republic. On 10 October 2009, Øvrebø refereed the GreeceLatvia match, where he awarded a disputed penalty shot to Greece early in the second period. Latvian manager Aleksandrs Starkovs mentioned that "there was clearly no foul and he didn't understand why Øvrebø awarded a penalty".[17]

He was among the 14 preselected referees from UEFA for the final stages in South Africa.[18] He did not make the final cut of 10 representatives from Europe.[19]


  1. ^ Factsheet 2 - Korrektur
  2. ^ UEFA har offentliggjort sin nye rangeringsliste for dommere|
  3. ^ Euro 2008: Italy v Romania|
  4. ^ Norwegian referee: - I was wrong | TV 2 Sporten
  5. ^ Euro_2008#Match_officials
  6. ^ Chelsea hearts broken by late, late Iniesta goal for Barcelona(barcelona's only shot on goal for the entire match)
  7. ^ Fleming, Mark (7 May 2009). "Drogba rages as Chelsea crash out in blaze of fury". The Independent. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  8. ^ Chelsea rage at referee for not giving them four penalties
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ "Bosingwa Retracts Thief Claim". Sky Sports. 2009-05-07.,19528,11668_5294256,00.html. Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
  11. ^ "Death threats force the referee Tom Henning Ovrebo into hiding.". The Guardian. 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  12. ^ "Drogba given lengthy European ban". BBC. 2009-05-18. 
  13. ^ "Drogba and Boswinga bans reduced". BBC. 2009-07-16. 
  14. ^ "Poll Denies Conspiracy Theory". Sporting Life. 
  15. ^ "Prandelli: 'Three refereeing errors'". Channel 4. 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  16. ^ Bayerns Skandaltreffer gegen Florenz “Das ist kein Abseits, oder?” in Spiegel Online; retrieved 2010-03-06 (German)
  17. ^ Starkovs: "Pendeles tur nebija"
  18. ^ List of prospective 2010 FIFA World Cup referees
  19. ^ Referees with Assistant Referees|


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