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Thursday, June 20, 2002

Blatter slams officials... and Italians
Christian Balmer

ROME, June 20 (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter has launched a strong condemnation of refereeing at the World Cup, saying Italy had been the main victims on the way to their shock quarter-final elimination.

Sepp Blatter: Far from impressed (Reuters)
But he denied media allegations that FIFA had been part of a plot to oust Italy in favour of hosts South Korea, calling on the Italians to show dignity in defeat.

The head of soccer's ruling body also told Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport that he would demand changes in the way referees were selected in future, with the emphasis on ability rather than nationality.

'The refereeing has been the only negative aspect of this World Cup,' Blatter said, replying to howls of protest in Italy over a string of controversial decisions which eventually saw them knocked out by South Korea on Tuesday.

'The (referees) have been quite good, but the (linesmen) have been a disaster, especially when it comes to offside...they haven't even realised that it is better to award an offside goal than to disallow a good goal.'

Italy complained bitterly after they were knocked out, saying a string of mistakes by referees had combined to sink the three-times world champions.


The team had five goals controversially disallowed during their four matches and also had striker Francesco Totti sent off in the South Korea game for allegedly diving in the penalty area - a decision that Blatter condemned.

'Sadly, and I have suffered greatly because of it, there have been exceptional circumstances and coincidences that saw many errors consecutively made against the same team, Italy,' he said.

'Totti's sending off against Korea was neither a penalty nor a dive. A referee with a feeling (for the game) would not have shown him the card, bearing in mind the same player had already been booked.'

The Ecuadorian referee, Byron Moreno, has defended the sending-off.

'I would do it again. I don't even have to watch the replays...Totti dived,' he said in an interview with Il Messaggero newspaper published on Thursday.

Blatter told La Gazzetta: 'A World Cup that receives the best players and teams in the world should be overseen by the best referees regardless of their nationality...from now on we will call in the best, full stop, even if they come from just a handful of countries.'


But while accepting that Italy had been unlucky to be knocked out, he added: 'Italy's elimination is not only down to referees and linesmen who made human not premeditated errors...Italy made mistakes both in defence and in attack.

'I call on Italian soccer to display some dignity and fair play because you can tell a great side more by the way it accepts defeat than by the way it handles victory.'

Italy were not the only side unhappy with the refereeing, he said, saying Turkey, Slovenia, Spain, Belgium and Mexico had all complained.

On Thursday, however, Edgardo Codesal Mendez, a member of FIFA's referees' committee, defended the referees.

'We'll have to wait until the final to evaluate the whole tournament, but until now the referees in general have done a very good job,' he said.

'They are human beings, they are not machines.'

soccernet ;)

141 Posts

So blater admits that refs where at fault yet Italy is suposed to shut up about how the got screwd even though he admits it??

If Italy doesn't keep fighting this then what is going to happen 4 years from now when it happens again??? maybe not against Italy but some other team.

The World Cup comes only once every 4 years, It is the most celebrated sporting event in the world, It has the power to unite nations for one month in which they set thier difrences aside and watch good soccer.

With that said it MUST be made FAIR!! for some players it is their only time, for some teams it was their best chance at capturing the cup and now it has been ruined because of bad oficiating... and these teams are expected to sit and shut up for the good of the game??

The good of the game is for FAIR soccer to be played, for officials to call games right, and for FIFA to make everything possible is done to ensure that the game is oficiated right... if it means an instant replay by the 4th official then it is necesary!!!

Dont give up Italy!!! dont stand by just because they conceded you where robbed. or else it will happen again. MAKE FIFA MAKE CHANGES!!!!

2,725 Posts
There could be re matches, if bad refeering is found,
Bad meaning, when one team loses because of it

13,202 Posts
Maradona blasts World Cup referee
ROME, June 21 (AFP)
Diego Maradona has weighed in on Italy's side in the great World Cup refereeing debate, blasting officials' handling of matches in an article written for Italy's Expresso news magazine Friday.
"If I'm not mistaken, no team in a World Cup has been given as many unmerited slaps in the face as Italy," said Maradona, who captained Argentina to World Cup victory in 1986 and won an Italian championship with Napoli.
"Under the shadow of referees, this World Cup is already a failure," said Maradona, who has been struggling in recent years to overcome cocaine abuse.
"Why so much aversion to Italy and so many favours for Brazil, who were thankful for a non-existent penalty and the lack of a red card for the farce staged by Rivaldo?" asks Maradona.
"Even leaving aside the inexplicable disallowed goal by Belgium" against Brazil in their second round tie, won 2-1 by Brazil.
Italy cried foul when they were beaten by South Korea in a second round match marred by refereeing decision which they say cost them a place in this weekend's quarter finals, including a disallowed "golden-goal" in extra-time.
In the end, the Koreans won the match with a "golden goal" of their own.
"Watching the World Cup from Cuba I don't know the games going on in the background. All I know is that FIFA puts its own interests first."
"The main protagonists in football must be the players and not the bureaucrats. It's one of my old battles."

even he is on our side

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