Chelsea have condemned death threats made towards referee Terje Hauge on fans’ forums in the wake of Wednesday’s controversial Champions League clash with Barcelona.
Norwegian referee Hauge sent off Blues defender Asier del Horno following a challenge on Barca’s Lionel Messi, with the Argentinian teenager appearing to make the most of any contact between him and Del Horno.
The dismissal eventually cost Chelsea as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge having led through a Thiago Motta own-goal, and threats to Hauge have since been posted on message boards on the club’s official website and on a Norwegian fans’ forum.
It follows similar threats made to Swedish official Anders Frisk after he sent off Didier Drogba in the first leg of the sides’ meeting last season. He subsequently retired as a result.
Chelsea insist the threats to Hauge have been removed and a club spokesman told The Sun: “As with the Anders Frisk situation last year, Chelsea football club totally condemns any threats made to referees, officials, players or supporters of any club or organisation.
“The problem is that most of these messages are posted under false names. Tracking the culprits might not prove to be an easy task.”