Referees united in defence of Meier

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The Independent Online

Urs Meier received the unanimous support of his fellow referees yesterday for his decision to disallow Sol Campbell's "goal" in England's Euro 2004 quarter-final with Portugal and insisted the "whole world" could see he was justified in penalising John Terry for pushing.

Meier, given backing by Uefa's referees' committee, said he was delighted with his performances during the tournament. The Swiss referee said: "I am not disappointed at all and I have reached my goal. I am one of the last four referees left in the tournament - at the World Cup it is eight and here it is only four. So I reached my goal and my last game [England v Portugal] was a beautiful game, so it's OK for me."

Meier, Pierluigi Collina, Anders Frisk and Markus Merk are the last four officials left. Merk will handle the final while Frisk will officiate at the semi-final between the Netherlands and Portugal, with Collina in charge of the semi-final between Greece and the Czech Republic.

Meier said he could not understand why some sections of the English media had attacked his decision to penalise Terry, who leaped with Campbell with his body between his team-mate and goalkeeper Ricardo.

"I am mostly concerned that the whole world could see I made the right decision and I am just disappointed that the English media does not seem able to see that," he said.

Meier received support from the chairman of the referees' committee, Volker Roth, who criticised the behaviour of some elements of the English media.

Roth said: "We are disappointed at the behaviour of some of your colleagues - as the German referees' boss I sometimes have to deal with the press, even the yellow [tabloid] press - it's not very nice. But in the case of the English press to blame Urs Meier for what was a correct decision was unacceptable.

"To go into his private life, show his wife, put an England flag on his house - this is really unacceptable. We are really unhappy. If the press reacts in this way, we must reconsider and let's say clearly and openly this is not a good way."

Fellow committee member Kenneth Ridden said the referees' committee unanimously supported Meier's decision.

"The committee discussed the matter thoroughly and we believe he made the right decision. The feeling of the committee after looking at the incident several times is to support the referee and his decision. Holding is an offence and must be punished according to the laws."

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