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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 June, 2004, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
Referee under police protection
By Sebastian Usher
BBC world media reporter

Police guard the home of Swiss referee Urs Meier
Meier says he was surprised by the English reaction
The Swiss referee who disallowed a goal by England in their Euro 2004 quarter-final with Portugal says he has been put under police protection.

Urs Meier told a Swiss radio station that he been advised to go into hiding after receiving death threats.

He has been accused by England's tabloid press of being responsible for the national team's defeat.

Mr Meier said he had received more than 16,000 e-mails after his address was printed in a newspaper.

Security problems

Mr Meier told Swiss Radio International that he stood by his decision on the goal, but that the public response had come as a shock.

"We have security problems in my office. We have security problems for myself and this is not the right way to handle this referee decision if it is right or not right," he said.

His house was tracked down by reporters from England's largest-circulation tabloid, the Sun, who planted an English flag outside it.

British MPs have also tabled a motion in the House of Commons criticising the quality of refereeing in the tournament, the Press Association news agency reported.

Mr Meier said he found the "overheated" reaction from the English media and fans hard to reconcile with the image he used to have of the country.

"I was always of the opinion that fair play in England is really important, and also the respect from the officials, but I never expected this reaction," he said.

"I hope that after the Euro and after some days, they forget something and I have my private life back."


SEE ALSO:
Merk slams English press
29 Jun 04  |  Euro 2004


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