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Blatter concedes refs at finals not up to standard

Written by: Staff

BERLIN, June 28: FIFA president Sepp Blatter has criticised referees at the World Cup for being inconsistent and not following instructions properly.

''I've noted that instructions aren't being followed consistently from one match to another,'' Blatter was quoted as saying today in an interview with FIFA's website.

''When a coach complains to me that shirt-pulling earned his player a yellow card one night and nothing for his team's group rivals the next, how am I supposed to respond? ''And then there are the tackles from behind I've seen go unpunished and the violent conduct that has escaped sanction, not to mention the serious errors made in applying the rules.'' Blatter's comments on fifaworldcup.com follow high profile refereeing controversies in the last week.

English referee Graham Poll previously earned Blatter's wrath after a technical error in the first round match between Australia and Croatia in Stuttgart on June 22 when he booked the same player three times then sent him off.

Russian referee Valentin Ivanov created a World Cup record on Sunday when he sent off four players in the second round match between Netherlands and Portugal.

Blatter said after that match that Ivanov should have been yellow carded himself because of his performance.

Blatter has criticised referees at previous World Cups, but his remarks this time reflect badly on FIFA who believed that by establishing teams of referees with regular assistants in well-practised trios, previous problems would be eradicated.

This has not happened here and Blatter said he found it incomprehensible that Poll was not alerted by his assistants through their headphone devices to the error he had made.

On a more positive note Blatter said the World Cup had been hugely successful and the innovative fan parks had so far attracted 11 million people watching matches on giant screens in a party atmosphere.

He added: ''During my 30 years at FIFA, I've helped the World Cup grow from 16 to 32 teams and, through FIFA, helped finance federations around the whole world.

''So when I see Ecuadoreans or Ukrainians hugging and waving flags, I tell myself our goal has been achieved. And when that's all happening in front of the mythical Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, it's even more beautiful.

''For the people of my generation, who remember the war, Europe in ruins, and Germany and Berlin divided by the 'Wall of Shame', watching the world rejoice here is such an incredible symbol.

''We see enough sadness and violence in the newspapers and on television not to feel joy when people are happy. And that's the case here in Germany because World Cup magic is back.''


Related Stories:

England wary of card-happy referees

Australians fume over referee

Refereeing controversy still following Koreans

Referees happy clampdown on fouls has worked

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