Barcelona 6, Paris Saint-Germain 1. A scoreline and a night that will live long and clearly in the memories of anyone who watched the match. In Catalonia, it is remembered as one of the greatest nights in the club’s history; in Paris, as one of the darkest.
The effects of the 6-5 aggregate defeat were far-reaching in a psychological sense, leading to no shortage of soul-searching from the Parisians. Manager Unai Emery was still mulling it over even after PSG won their subsequent league tie over Lorient 2-1.
Speaking to Canal+ France, in an interview carried by Marca, former referee Tony Chapron told a curious anecdote. After the Lorient victory, Unai Emery knocked on his door.
“I thought he had come to protest a decision that was not very wise that I had taken, but not at all. He said to me: Mr. Chapron, I have question to put to you about the match against Barcelona. Can you explain the decisions of the referee to me?”
“When you are a referee, you have to remain united. I lied to Unai Emery, I told him that I hadn’t seen the match. I did not want to admit to him, even if I thought so, that the refereeing team got it wrong that night.”
“No doubt that is what he would have liked to hear, but it was not the time. So I didn’t do it. Today and five years later I can say so and maybe, once retired, it is easier to say we are humans and we also get things wrong.”
Chapron goes on to analyse the match itself, explaining that it was a disastrous night for the officials. In particular, he highlighted the late penalty won by Luis Suarez as an error.
It leads on to the familiar debate about whether referees should explain their decisions after the fact. In other sports, a video referee and the referee talk through the incident live on camera, leaving no doubt as to the reasoning for their decision.