POLICE have offered support to referee Michael Oliver and his wife Lucy after they were targeted on social media following Real Madrid's Champions League showdown with Juventus last Wednesday.

Ashington-born Oliver awarded Real a stoppage-time penalty from which they secured a 4-3 aggregate victory and a place in the semi-finals, prompting a tide of online abuse.

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: "We are aware of threatening messages being posted on social media. This type of behaviour is completely unacceptable and those writing the messages need to be aware that they could be committing a criminal offence.

"Neighbourhood officers are in touch with the victims in this case to offer them support and ensure any further offences are reported to police."

UEFA has condemned the abuse directed at referee Michael Oliver and his wife Lucy following the Champions League quarter-final game between Real Madrid and Juventus.

Northumberland match official Oliver awarded a disputed stoppage-time penalty, from which the Spaniards won the tie, in the second-leg match.

Police have offered their support to the Olivers after the couple were targeted by social media trolls and European football's governing body UEFA has also reached out.

A statement read: "UEFA strongly condemns the abuse directed at Michael Oliver and his wife. We have been in contact with them to offer our support and we trust the relevant authorities to take action against those individuals who have behaved inappropriately both on and off social media."

UEFA's disciplinary body is yet to open proceedings in relation to the bad-tempered match at the Bernabeu.