Tom Henning Øvrebø

Tom Henning Øvrebø (born 26 June 1966) is a Norwegian former football referee. He has been a UEFA Elite referee,[1] having refereed matches in the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Champions League. Øvrebø has also worked as a qualified psychologist outside football.[2]

Tom Henning Øvrebø
Full name Tom Henning Øvrebø
Born (1966-06-26) 26 June 1966 (age 55)
Oslo, Norway
Other occupation Psychologist
Years League Role
1992–2012 Norway Tippeligaen Referee
2013 Norway 1. divisjon Referee
Years League Role
1994–2010 FIFA Referee


Born in Oslo, Øvrebø has refereed over 200 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).

Øvrebø 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.[3]

Øvrebø officiated the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg between Chelsea and Barcelona on 6 May 2009, which ended as a 1–1 draw. Barcelona advanced to the final on away goals.[4] In the game, Øvrebø refused to award Chelsea several penalties and was verbally abused by several Chelsea players, including Didier Drogba, José Bosingwa and Michael Ballack, after turning down several penalty appeals during the match.[5][6] Drogba had to be physically restrained at the end of the match[5] and the Norwegian referee was later escorted out of England by police in fears for his safety after receiving a number of death threats. Chelsea distanced themselves from these threats.[7] Drogba was subsequently banned for three matches, while Bosingwa was banned for two matches. Chelsea were fined £85,000 for improper conduct on the part of their players and fans.[6] Øvrebø admitted in 2012 that he was still the subject of abuse from Chelsea fans.[8] In 2018, he told Marca: "It was not my best day, really, but those mistakes can be committed by a referee, and sometimes a player or a coach. Some days you are not at the level you should be. But no, I can’t be proud of that performance."[9]

Øvrebø came under further criticism in February 2010, when he allowed a goal scored by Miroslav Klose in an apparent off-side position during the final minutes of Bayern Munich vs Fiorentina (round-of-16 1st leg of the 2009–10 UEFA Champions League). The episode sparked anger in Italy[10][11] and scorn in Germany[12]. Øvrebø later explained he got wrong information from his assistant, but ultimately took responsibility on the mistake[13].

In the group stages of qualification for the 2010 World Cup, Øvrebø refereed the ArmeniaTurkey, BelgiumSpain and the SlovakiaCzech Republic matches. On 10 October 2009, Øvrebø refereed the GreeceLatvia match.[14] Øvrebø was among the 14 pre-selected referees from UEFA for the final stages in South Africa,[15] but did not make the final cut of 10 representatives from Europe.[16]

He ended his international career in May 2010 but continued to officiate in the Norwegian Premier League.[17] During the 2013 season, Øvrebø only officiated matches in the Norwegian Cup and the Norwegian First Division due to a knee-injury.

In October 2013, Øvrebø announced his retirement from professional refereeing.[18]


  1. ^ UEFA har offentliggjort sin nye rangeringsliste for dommere. (22 December 2009). Retrieved on 2012-05-18.
  2. ^ Factsheet 2 – Korrektur UEFA Euro 2008
  3. ^ Norwegian referee: – I was wrong. (15 June 2008). Retrieved on 2012-05-18.
  4. ^ Referee from Chelsea's 2009 home tie with Barcelona still given abuse. Guardian (5 April 2012). Retrieved on 2012-11-16.
  5. ^ a b "Chelsea Champions League referee Ovrebo smuggled out of Britain". The Guardian. 7 May 2009. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Uefa reduce Didier Drogba's European ban". The Telegraph. 15 July 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  7. ^ Jackson, Jamie (8 May 2009). "Death threats force the referee Tom Henning Ovrebo into hiding". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  8. ^ "'I still get abuse from Chelsea fans for the 2009 semi-final against Barcelona' - referee Tom Henning Ovrebo". 6 April 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  9. ^ Dean, Sam (18 February 2018). "Chelsea-Barca 2009 semi-final ref admits to mistakes but says 'you can't remember my career just for that game'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Fiorentina scippata in Baviera. Stampa tedesca: 'Gol scandaloso' (ENGL: Fiorentina robbed in Bavaria. German press: "Outrageous goal")". Televideo Rai (in Italian). Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  11. ^ Nazione, La (18 February 2010). "Il popolo viola contro la Uefa; Abete telefona a Platini; Ovrebo ammette l'errore (ENGL: The Violet people against Uefa; Abete calls Platini; Ovrebo admits mistake)". La Nazione (in Italian). Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  12. ^ "Tomaten-Schiri Tom Henning Ovrebo pfeift Bayern gegen Florenz in der Champions League (ENGL: Tomato-ref Tom Henning Ovrebo blows Bayern against Florence in the Champions League)". (in German). 16 February 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  13. ^ "Referee Tom Henning Ovrebo Admits 'Unwise' Offside Decision During Bayern Munich - Fiorentina Clash |". Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  14. ^ Starkovs: "Pendeles tur nebija". (11 October 2009). Retrieved on 2012-05-18.
  15. ^ List of prospective 2010 FIFA World Cup referees
  16. ^ Referees with Assistant Referees
  17. ^ Johannessen, Sturla (18 May 2010). "Øvrebø gir seg som FIFA-dommer" (in Norwegian). TV 2 Sporten. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  18. ^ "Øvrebø legger opp som fotballdommer". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). Norwegian News Agency. 12 October 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.