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FIFA referees chief springs to defense of Eriksson after City’s critical comments

Feb 19, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

Champions League woe continues for City, will that impact their performance vs. Stoke? AP

FIFA referees chief Jim Boyce is calling Manuel Pellegrini’s criticism of referee Jonas Eriksson “absolute nonsense” after the Manchester City manager unleashed a string of verbal barbs at the official following City’s 2-0 home defeat against FC Barcelona in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 tie.

Pellegrini was critical of Eriksson’s nationality and bias after the Swede sent Martin Demichelis off for a “last man back” tackle on Lionel Messi that earned Barca a penalty kick. City back Vincent Kompany added “There was a lot of soft fouls. In the Premier League, they would have not been given.”

But it wasn’t the Premier League, and Boyce was furious at Pellegrini’s comments about an official slated to referee matches at the World Cup this summer.

“It is absolute nonsense to say a referee should not be chosen for an important match because he comes from a smaller country. If the referee has proved himself at the top level it should not matter what country they come from.

“All the referees who have been chosen for the World Cup have been assessed by experienced officials who have been involved at FIFA and UEFA level and marked on their performances in the World Cup and confederation competitions at a high level.

“I read the remarks that were made by the Manchester City manager. I saw the game and my own personal opinion is that I thought the referee had a good game.

“He is a very experienced referee who has been chosen for the World Cup because of excellent reports of his performances in Europe.”

If Boyce’s comments are a harbinger of what’s to come from UEFA’s review of Pellegrini’s comments, then maybe the manager will face just desserts — a big fine or suspension — for his classless post-game press conference. Call me one of those who have no question it was a penalty and red card. Flip the script: if that tackle happens on the forward on your team, are you looking for a free kick and yellow?

Didn’t think so.

  1. dbroadie - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    Just shows how bad the premiership refereeing has become. After the travesty of a job Howard Webb did this past weekend.
    I have never been a fan of how physical the Premier League is. I want to watch beautiful soccer, not some dumb fullback bundling over a forward.

  2. chadmoon1 - Feb 19, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    Then stop watching the Premier League, the top league in the country that the game was founded in. I guess you like beautiful snowflakes like Ronaldo, who flutter and fall at a slight breeze.

  3. jylick - Feb 19, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    If that tackle happened against Negredo or Dzeko, I can say with certainty that it would’ve been handled differently. Furthermore, the yellow cards issued to Dani Alves and Kolarov were soft. It was soft refereeing all around. Point in case, Kompany’s shoulder barge on Messi…shouldn’t have been a foul.

  4. chunkala - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    He wants a Premier League where Suarez can fall to the ground acting as if hes been shot (we can dare to dream).That’s his only problem Webb last weekend. Once you get caught diving, it’s hard to get that image out of a ref’s head.

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