UEFA’s patterns are getting kind of stale at this point. It’s the second year in a row that Bayern Munich will face a Spanish team in the first round of the Champions League group stage, and Michael Oliver is put in charge. Last year it was Atletico Madrid, and this time it’ll be Barcelona at the Camp Nou.
While Barca aren’t exactly the thugs that Atletico can be, getting an English ref in European competition is never a good thing. They’re just so consistently sub-par in their officiating, and often miss card-worthy challenges (or sometimes book the completely wrong player — see Thomas Muller’s yellow card vs Atleti last year). There’s a reason why the English can’t stand their own refs.
Oliver himself has a bit of a reputation, since he’s the guy who forgot to book Jordan Pickford for his reckless challenge against Virgil van Dijk when Liverpool faced Everton last year. As you can see, the reaction of Bayern fans to his appointment is NOT positive:
Funnily enough, we did this exact same article last year, when Oliver was appointed to ref the Atletico game. That piece ended up quoted in the Daily Mail and got over 2.2k upvotes when posted to r/soccer. If you check the comments on either of those sites, you’ll find the same overarching opinion — he’s really bad and we were right to be worried. While Bayern did end up winning that game 4-0, Oliver hardly managed a spotless performance. He was rather poor, to be frank.
Honestly UEFA, you have to stop this. Stop giving us all the English refs, keep that plague confined to the British Isles please. Or if they must officiate a game, give them to PSG. I’m sure there are plenty of good European refs that are qualified to officiate a match of this caliber. Why not give them a chance?