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.