Football: Fifa defends referees

Click to follow
The Independent Online
FIFA YESTERDAY backed the two referees at the centre of more World Cup controversy. Sepp Blatter, the president of football's world governing body, called a meeting with his head of referees, David Will of Scotland, after watching Cameroon score two disallowed goals and Norway beat Brazil with a contested penalty on Tuesday.

The Hungarian official Laszlo Vagner refused Cameroon's Francois Omam Biyik the goals against Chile in a 1-1 draw, while the American referee Esfandiar Baharmast's penalty award put Norway, 2-1 winners over Brazil, through at the expense of Morocco.

"We are confident the referees take their decisions in good faith and those decisions are definitive," said a Fifa spokesman, Keith Cooper. "Fifa is satisfied with the way the new rules are being applied and feels the refereeing is of a high standard ."

Despite Morocco beating Scotland 3-0, Norway went through when the Chelsea striker Tore Andre Flo was adjudged to have been brought down in the area by Junior Baiano. Kjetil Rekdal hammered home the penalty with two minutes remaining.

Cooper has ruled out the use of video replays to settle controversial decisions at the World Cup: "That's out of the question and until technology comes up with a fool-proof system we won't use it."

After Rekdal's spot-kick sealed Norway's passage into the next phase, Brazil's coach Mario Zagallo commented: "I don't have a problem with the referees but Fifa does."

Flo insisted: "It was a clear penalty. I felt him pull me and the only surprise was how long the referee took to decide. I thought if this is not a penalty then I will just go mad."