Anger grows at poor officiating in Copa

Referees are always controversial figures but the Copa America seems to have the worst on display. It’s a real shame that often these refs are the key figures in Copa matches, rather than the players.

Colombia’s coach Jorge Luis Pinto was furious with the decision to award the penalty that led to Argentina’s equalizer last night against his team, after what he said was a 50-50 challenge.

“That would not have been a penalty anywhere else in the world, it was a 50-50 ball,” said Pinto. The referees are not respectful. The big powers have advantages compared to the smaller ones.”

“I could sit here and we could watch the whole match again and I will show you what I’m talking about. I coached Costa Rica at the last Copa America and it was the same thing.”

It is unlikely to be of any consolation to Pinto but many Brazilian fans agree with him that last night’s ref – Brazilian Carlos Simon – is a weak ref who openly lends a helping hand to Brazil’s big clubs in the domestic league.

The dismal performance of Mexico’s Armardo Archundia in Venezuela’s victory over Peru was possibly the most egregious performance so far. According to Peru’s Todo Sport the visitors played “with the referee against us, who stole a penalty from us.”

This was not just a case of sore losers. “The Mexican referee Archundia didn’t award a clear penalty,” noted Argentina’s Clarin.

“Unfortunately, later Archundia began to whistle for petty things that often favored Venezuela,” says WorldReferee, who gave Archundia a 5.5 rating for the match.

Such a performance is bound to raise accusations of match-rigging in a region prone to conspiracy theories and where few were surprised that the hosts – traditionally one of the Copa’s also-rans – landed in the easiest of groups.

Paraguay‘s Carlos Torres officiated in Brazil’s victory over Chile and was unable to control the teams – four of the six substitutions were for injury in a physical, nearly violent, game. But letting some wild challenges go he then waved a yellow card at Chile’s Jorge Vargas – even though he was on the bench at the time! The first penalty, which swung the game, was dubious, say both Ole and La Tercera.

Egotism and bad judgment seem to be required by the regional governing body, Conmebol. Maybe they should bring some guest refs over from Europe, to raise the level.

For those that remember South Korea, breath a sigh of relief that Ecuador’s Byron Moreno isn’t participating in this tournament. Instead it’s Mauricio Reinoso, who nonetheless didn’t win many plaudits for his running of tournament opener Venezuela-v-Bolivia.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Anger grows at poor officiating in Copa

  1. Juanma

    fans hate referees everywhere but having seen football in both places I think clearly that they are better in europe than in south america. what i hate most is how often they blow the game to stop for things that are not fouls or where he could have left the play go on and then let these wild fouls go with no punishment when they are straight red cards. there is no consistency!

  2. Bo Duke

    I disagree with the verdict on the Brasil-Chile game. It didn’t seem full of wild or dirty tackles to me, and it’s an exaggeration to say the referee lost control of the players. To say that 4 of 6 substitutions were for injuries proves nothing more than injuries occured during the game. Are they serious injuries? Were they the result of bad tackles, or bad luck? The couple I can remember resulted from quite minor contact where the unlucky player landed awkwardly, just bad luck in my opinion. What was a crime was the game itself, which was boring, tedious, two teams lacking in ideas, in no way rescued by a couple of late, sweet, goals. Brasil deserved to beat an overly defensive and poor Chile side, but it wasn’t pretty to watch.

  3. El Arbitro

    Here is a classic case of outrageous refereeing from South America:
    Atlético Mineiro-v-Flamengo, 1981 Libertadores group play-off.
    Ref: José Roberto Wright who was completely bought by Fla and did not even bother to hide it in turning in one of the most shameful performances in football history to rob the tie for Fla. Of course Rio-based CBF worked their influence in CONMEBOL and ensured that the official was from…..Rio, handily catching the same plane to neutral venue Goiânia as the Fla squad. What is the point in holding the game in a neutral venue if the ref is not neutral?

    To this day Wright’s name is, like CBF’s, a byword for corruption among Atlético fans and this game cemented the feeling among many Brazilian football fans that Flamengo is a club protected by referees and the higher ups in control of the game.
    Now that corruption has hollowed out Flamengo to the point that the self-proclaimed “most popular club in the world” have spent recent years flirting with relegation most other fans in Brazil do not look on wistfully wondering what happened to the country’s biggest club. Instead they pray they’ll go down and never come back up again.

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