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FIFA condemns Maradona comments about England-Colombia referee

Moscow (AFP) – FIFA condemned comments by Diego Maradona on Wednesday, after the Argentinian legend claimed that Colombia only lost to England in the World Cup last 16 because of the appointment of referee Mark Geiger for the match.

The 1986 World Cup winner said England’s win was a “monumental robbery” after Gareth Southgate’s men edged through a bad-tempered encounter on penalties on Tuesday.

“I apologise to all the Colombian people, but the players are not to blame — here is a gentleman (FIFA referees boss Pierluigi Collina) who decides to choose a referee who, by googling him, can’t be used for a match of this magnitude,” Maradona told Venezuelan TV channel Telesur.

Maradona was at the match as a guest of FIFA and was pictured before the game wearing a Colombia shirt.

Football’s world governing body responded, saying it was “extremely sorry” to read the comments from “a players who has written the history of our game”.

“Following comments made by Diego Armando Maradona in relation to yesterday’s round of 16 game, Colombia v England, FIFA strongly rebukes the criticism of the performance of the match officials which it considers to have been positive in a tough and highly emotional match,” a FIFA spokesperson said in a statement.

“Furthermore, it also considers the additional comments and insinuations made as being entirely inappropriate and completely unfounded.”

Colombian captain Radamel Falcao also criticised American official Geiger, calling his performance a “disgrace”.

Geiger awarded England a second-half penalty after midfielder Carlos Sanchez wrestled Harry Kane to the ground, but also punished an apparent headbutt by Colombia’s Wilmar Barrios on Jordan Henderson with only a yellow card.

“It was clear that in the 50-50 calls, he always sided with England and this is a disgrace in the round of 16,” said Falcao.

Geiger was suspended from international football for six months after several controversial decisions during a 2015 Gold Cup semi-final between Panama and Mexico.

He also refereed Colombia’s 3-0 group-stage win over Greece at the 2014 World Cup.

Former England striker Gary Lineker laughed off Maradona’s comments on Twitter, referencing the Argentinian’s infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the 1986 quarter-finals.

“The sheer effrontery from the fella who punched one in. You’ve got to hand it to him.”

England face Sweden in the last eight in Samara on Saturday.

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  1. David Rowley

    July 5, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    Maridonna…more like Primadonna!
    A Great Football Player…
    A First Class Cheat (and proud of it)…
    and, a Very Poor Loser.
    Not someone you’d want to bring home, and meet your mother!

  2. Lewis Courtney

    July 5, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    Ref biased? Really? I take it you didn’t watch the game , other wise you would have seen the headbutt, which the ref only gave a yellow card, instead of a red. Or how about when England were awarded a penalty, and the Colombian’s surrounded the ref, so he couldn’t see the penalty spot being scuffed? They were complaining the whole game and every time Kane got the ball he was fouled. I suggest your get your eye sight checked at vision world or spec savers.
    As for lying cheat Maradonna he has no right to call England cheats after what he pulled of during his playing days. He needs to come off his candy coloured cocaine mountain and keep his mouth shut.

  3. Petitchola

    July 5, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    I have to agree with Diego Maradona on his observations of the referee. I’m not a fan of Colombia, but watching the game saw the very unprofessional performance by this referee, suspended in the past for poor performance! The English team is ok, but not better than the Colombian team showing a lot of great futbol during the match. Unfortunately, the referee showed his bias for England and for the type of rude and trampling type of game. Maradona may have used drugs in the past but doesn’t mean he cannot observe and criticize a referee given the win to a team that didn’t deserve it.

  4. Mac

    July 5, 2018 at 10:44 am

    As a enthusiastic user of Colombian products what else would Maradona say?

  5. paul

    July 4, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    argentina has maradonna and england has gazza. only difference is gazza is out of the public’s eye. how maradonna is trusted as a fifa guest after his antics caught on TV and pictures in the newspapers during the ARG/Nigeria game is baffling. linekar’s comment is a classic! really hoping neymar’s behavior improves for the remaining game(s). the WC should be a display of all the good football has to offer, it doesn’t need the ridiculous simulation by the top lads setting a poor example for the world to scrutinize. did see england players consoling ospina after the shootout, that is what the game is about. fight to exhaustion and after its over with have a few beverages together…….

    • JT

      July 4, 2018 at 8:46 pm

      Coke-head handball cheat is a disgrace to the beautiful game. Why does FIFA keep trotting him out every four years?

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