July 5 – FIFA has apologised on behalf of Diego Maradona for comments he made about the officiating in England’s last-16 World Cup tie against Colombia.
As the Colombian media continue to protest about referee Mark Geiger’s performance, Maradona, these days a FIFA ambassador, got in on the act by saying England got away with “monumental robbery”
Maradona’s Argentina have already been eliminated and he became a Colombian fan for the day, pictured wearing a yellow replica shirt before the game.
He felt Geiger should have penalised Harry Kane for a foul on Colombia’s Carlos Sanchez instead of awarding the penalty that allowed the England captain to open the scoring just before the hour mark in Moscow.
“Here’s a gentleman who decides, a referee who, if you Google him, shouldn’t be given a match of this magnitude… Geiger, an American, what a coincidence,” Maradona said on his nightly World Cup show for Venezuela-based Telesur broadcaster.
FIFA said Maradona’s comments were “entirely inappropriate” and that insinuations about the referee were “completely unfounded”.
Football’s world governing body added it was “extremely sorry” to read the comments from “a player who has written the history of our game”.
“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.”
Although the play-acting and constant intimidation by Colombian players were witnessed by millions of fans, the country’s media continued to take a different view.
Colombia’s Caracol radio station dedicated an online story to the referee entitled, ‘Mark Geiger, the referee most hated by Colombians’.
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