Kill the ref!"Kill the ref" is a phrase said in jest, or mostly in jest, at many sporting events.
It's not quite so funny when people take it literally.
Swedish soccer referee Anders Frisk is quitting the game follow death threats he received. He was in charge for a controversial match between Chelsea and Barcelona, leaders of the English and Spanish leagues respectively.
The Barcelona manager allegedly talked to Frisk at halftime of the match. Chelsea's manager criticized the alleged meeting, claiming that Frisk made more favorable calls to the Catalan side in the second half.
Last fall, Frisk was hit in the head by an object thrown from the crowd at Rome's Olympic Stadium.
In December Claudio Ranieri, at the time Valencia's coach, openly criticised the Swede after his side went out of the Champions League following a 2-0 home defeat by Werder Bremen.
But more despicably, Ranieri, who is normally considered one of the sport's good guys, said that after watching the game he understood why Frisk had been hit on the head in Rome.
The retirement of Frisk, who's generally considered one of the best refs in the world, follows death threats made last year against Swiss official Urs Meier, who controversially disallowed a goal that would've sent England into the semifinal of the European Championships... a hate campaign that was sickeningly fanned by segments of the British tabloid press.
Update: The head of European soccer's refereeing committee has branded Mourinho as an 'enemy of football.' He even suggested that referees might strike in protest of the treatment of Frisk.
While no competitor enjoys losing, some people handle it with grace and others make excuses. Former British referee Jeff Winter hit the nail on the head. "We have had instances lately, and on this occasion it is Mourinho's name that appears again, that on the few occasions Chelsea lose a football match there is a conspiracy theory - it is the referee's fault."
Update 2: From Soccer America... After a fan ran onto the field and punched and kicked referee Luiz Carlos during Sunday's America and Atletico Mineiro game [in the Brazilian League], Carlos chased down the fan and slugged him numerous times in the face. Players from both teams eventually stopped the fight.
"I had to do something, he was much bigger than me,'' the Brazilian ref said. "He would beat me up badly if I just stayed there."