Michael Oliver: Police investigate text threats against referee's wife

Michael Oliver
Michael Oliver sent off Gianluigi Buffon after he protested Oliver awarding Real Madrid an injury-time penalty

Warning: This story has tweets that contain swearing and language that users may find offensive.

Police are investigating threatening text messages sent to the wife of Premier League referee Michael Oliver.

Oliver awarded a last-minute penalty as Real Madrid knocked Juventus out of the Champions League on Wednesday and was criticised by Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon and some Italian media.

BBC Sport understands Oliver's wife Lucy - a Women's Super League referee who also officiates men's non-league football - had her mobile number posted on social media after the game, which led to the abusive texts.

Police are also looking into reports of people banging on the front door of the couple's home address and shouting abuse through their letterbox.

Officers have now deactivated the phone number, although Lucy Oliver's social media account has also been targeted by some supporters.

BBC Sport has compiled some of the examples on Twitter. These tweets contain swearing and language that users may find offensive.

TwitterLucy Oliver twitter death threatsLucy Oliver twitter death threatsLucy Oliver twitter death threats

The elite referee's body, the PGMOL, said it was supporting the Olivers and "condemned the abuse Lucy has received on social media".

A spokesman for Twitter confirmed that several offensive tweets reported by Lucy Oliver have been removed for violating its abuse policy.

In a dramatic end to the match at the Bernabeu in Madrid, Juventus captain and Italy international Buffon was sent off for confronting Oliver over the 93rd-minute penalty decision.

He later told media the English official had a "bag of rubbish for a heart".

On Saturday, Buffon defended his comments, saying he "stands by all of it".

The 40-year-old goalkeeper admitted some of the language he used may have been "excessive" but insisted 33-year-old Oliver was too young to referee such a significant match.

"I have to defend my team-mates and fans, even in a not very composed fashion. I had to let that out, even if it damaged my reputation," he told Italian TV.

"You find a way to speak, right or wrong, that at times can seem excessive - but this is me, I am Gigi Buffon.

"I'd say them all again - maybe with a different type of language, one that was more civilised, let's say. The content remains and I stand by all of it."

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri also said he "understood" Buffon's reaction and described him as a "role model on and off the pitch" for the "last 20 years".

"If on one occasion he said the things he did, in a situation as tough as Wednesday night's, that is understandable and I challenge anyone to react differently," said Allegri.

European football's governing body Uefa has not yet commented on the matter.

Oliver was the fourth official for Huddersfield's late win over Watford in the Premier League on Saturday and is due to take charge of West Ham v Stoke City on Monday night.

In response to the online abuse of Mrs Oliver, some Italian football fans started a twitter hashtag #ItaliaLovesMichaelOliver backing the official, which got 6,000 tweets in 24 hours on Thursday.

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker believes Buffon should apologise for his post-match comments
Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker believes Buffon should apologise for his post-match comments

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