Markus Strömbergsson's appointment for a UEFA Champions League match in this season was not that surprising. His last season was overall good, even though he had some problems with his assistant referees. Then, the u20 WC nomination came and he showed again two good perfomances and then one which was not that good (ARG-EGY). Yesterday, it was his first match at all in this season, mostly he accompanied his countryman Eriksson as additional assistant referee, certainly as a test for the Swedish Euro 2012 team which will probably consist of Eriksson, Wittberg (or Nilsson), Klasenius, Johannesson and Strömbergsson. Moreover, his appointment for this match between a German and Spanish team in the final arena was perhaps a bit too much, but considering the fact that Villarreal had been out even before the match, it was ok.
The control is never his problem. But the calls are. To start with the good aspects, I have to emphasize that he was spared bigger mistakes in the complete 2nd half. I do not use the expression "faultless" here, as he had sometimes problems with midfield duels. However, the first half, better: the first 20 minutes were a disaster for the Swedish officials...and that under the observation of Jaap Uilenberg..jeez..
The team made three really huge mistakes and one consequential error: 1. After only 110 seconds, his assistant referee 2 Magnus Sjöblom wrongly flagged for offside. Gomez appeared freely in front of the goalie, it would have been a goal for 90%, therefore a really huge mistake. Obviously, Marchena was not content with this injustice and made - directly after the offside flag - a total error as he played the ball unchallenged (!) in Kroos' feet, then Ribery came and scored in minute 3...then, the minutes 19 and 20. First, there was a clear handball in the box committed by Lahm (Bayern). A more obvious penalty does not exist. The crucial thing about that which makes me still angry as I simply cannot understand it: all the three men must see that! Stalhammar (add.assref1), Nilsson, Strömbergsson. Unbelievable that they did not see it. Everyone of those had clear and free view, distance? Perhaps 10 metres. Does UEFA not want to call penalties against the team which will be the final's host? Kassai missed two clear penalties, now again, in Bundesliga it is just the normality..the "consequential error" was made by him as he cautioned a Villarreal player for protesting. Yes, there must be a punishment for protests. They have to be avoided. However, issueing yellows for protests - especially in such a situation - is a display of a lack of authority and indicates a wrong decision..and, as it is quite normal in football, Bayern scored in the direct counterattack, but (yes, there is a but again), the Bayern striker was in an offside position, the replays showed that it was a very close situation, the tendency is however offside, if, then only a few centimetres. Again Sjöblom made the wrong decision, but again, such a close situation.
What does that mean?
I do not know, of course it is no + when you make three big errors which were match influencing under Uilenberg's observation. I am still waiting for István Vad, UEFA seems to not recognize what a great talent he is...
Is it right what we are doing here?
There are people who advocated banning marks given to referees, e.g. Herbert Fandel or a former Bundesliga and CL ref Heynemann. After the last Saturday, I am in doubt. Even though Rafati's problems seem to have been of personal nature, it should be an appeal to everyone. One should rethink how to deal with referees and their performances. As a football fan it is hard to understand how referees can seriously position themselves after a match and justify a e.g. disallowed goal while millions of football fans have just recognized that it was a mistake? FIFA should be finally aware of how they leave their referees in the lurch. They do not allow technical aids; they are shifting the responsibility solely on the referees. That cannot be right. But I think referees are acting in a serious sport, their performances and decisions must be discussed, but please, with the necessary respect.