Uefa has branded Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho "the enemy of football" as they asked referee Anders Frisk to reconsider his decision to retire.
Mourinho criticised his display against Barcelona in the Champions League.
Frisk quit after receiving death threats, and Uefa referees' committee chairman Volker Roth accused Mourinho.
He said: "We can't accept that one of our best referees has been forced to quit because of this. People like Mourinho are the enemy of football."
Frisk walked away from football on Saturday after officiating for 16 years but Uefa communications director William Gaillard says the body wants him to change his mind.
"Our first reaction was of solidarity and compassion," said Gaillard.
"Uefa have been in contact with Anders to try to convince him to come back to refereeing because we need people of his calibre and quality."
Mourinho accused Frisk of talking to Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard at half-time during Chelsea's Champions League last-16 first-leg.
Roth even hinted that referees could strike over the treatment of Frisk.
"We cannot just do nothing. There will be a demonstration of solidarity among the referees as you have never seen before," he told the German newspaper Bild.
"I am really no friend of strikes but we must consider measures.
"It's the coaches who whip up the masses and actually make them threaten people with death."
Uefa had previously told Mourinho to stop "casting doubt on the honesty of Anders Frisk, who is an outstanding referee".
The Chelsea boss also incurred the wrath of Uefa for saying he expected Italian referee Pierluigi Collina to be handed the second leg against Barcelona, which his team won to progress to the quarter-finals.
Collina was then given that game, but Mourinho was ticked off for publicly anticipating the appointment.
Urs Meier, who received threats following his controversial decisions in England's quarter-final against Portugal at the European Championships last summer, has called for governing bodies to take action against those who "undermine" officials.
He said: "They have to do something, otherwise more and more referees will be forced out of the game.
"They have a duty to make some hard decisions against associations, clubs, managers and whoever undermines referees."
Fifa president Sepp Blatter also registered his disgust at such treatment.
"I am appalled by the verbal attacks directed at referees," he said. "It is often such extreme behavior that sparks off trouble among supporters.
"I strongly urge everyone concerned to show respect towards referees and demonstrate fair play.
"Anyone who attacks a referee, attacks the football environment in which he lives."
Former referee Jeff Winter, speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, was critical of Mourinho.
He said: "We have had instances lately, and on this occasion it is Mourinho's name that appears again, that on the few occasions Chelsea lose a football match there is a conspiracy theory - it is the referee's fault.
"A referee may get a decision wrong in 90 minutes, but he's not to blame for everything.
"Then is seems to gather pace with newspapers and television, and when a person's family life is affected or he feels threatened, refereeing a football match just isn't important at all."