Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed that even the UEFA officials who were at the game were shocked by Swiss referee Massimo Busacca’s decision to send off Robin Van Persie.
Van Persie, who had been a doubt to play in the game, was dismissed for two extremely soft yellow cards, the second one after failing to hear the referees whistle about 95,000 supporters.
There was one second between Van Persie shooting the ball from an offside position and the referee’s whistle, and the Dutchman blasted the decision as a joke.
Wenger had a heated confrontation with the referee at the end of the match, which Arsenal eventually lost 3-1, and said of the referees decision, “I think he must think he made the right decision.”
He added, “I spoke to Uefa people. They are shocked as well because it killed a promising, fantastic football match.
“What for? If it’s a bad tackle or a second bookable offence, okay, but frankly it is embarrassing.”
“Two kinds of people can be unhappy; those who love Arsenal and those who love football can be frustrated with the referee’s decisions.
“When he made the decision it was a very promising game, very interesting. That’s the regret.
“We lost against a very good Barcelona side, congratulations to them and good luck for the future.
“We have many regrets tonight because we didn’t expect to lose the game like that. I feel sorry for people who watched the game.”
Whilst the officials may have admitted to Wenger on a personal level that they disapproved of the decision, the cowards at UEFA are likely to publically support the referee, who is the latest in a long line to make shocking decisions against English clubs in Europe.
Barcelona were on the receiving end of more favouritism two years ago, as they won their semi final against Chelsea after getting away with four blatant penalties the referee failed to give.