FIFA will not Suspend Canadian Players before Bronze-Medal Match
After a heartbreaking semi-final loss on Monday to the United States 4-3 in the final seconds of extra time, the Canadian Olympic women’s soccer team was emotional, heartbroken and some players criticized Norwegian referee’s controversial calls during the game.
This sparked FIFA, the international body that governs soccer, to announce “its disciplinary committee would investigate the post-match actions of the Canadian team,” possibly resulting in suspensions for key players during the bronze-medal match.
However, FIFA released a statement on Wednesday stating Canada will not suffer any penalty before the team plays for the bronze medal on Thursday, August 9.
“In view of the elements currently at its disposal, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee considers that further investigation will be needed regarding incidents that occurred after the conclusion of the match between Canada and the USA on 6 August at Old Trafford,” according to a FIFA email release.
“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee is therefore not in a position to take any decision at present. Further information will be provided in due course, but not prior to the bronze medal match between Canada and France on 9 August.”
Several Canadian players, including Captain Christine Sinclair from Burnaby and Melissa Tancredi, made statements of criticism to the media after the game about Norwegian Referee Christina Pedersen.
The official made a handful of decisions that upset the Canadians, including the ‘controversial’ call of delay of game on Goalkeeper Erin McLeod for holding the ball too long after making a save in the 80th minute, which led to a penalty kick for the United States and ultimately a tying goal.
Sinclair told the media “It’s a shame in a game like that, [which] is so important, the ref decided the result before it started.”
During the game, Tancredi had made a comment to the referee and reporters asked her what she said, she replied with “I hope you can sleep tonight and put on your American jersey because that’s who you played for today. I was honest.”
FIFA announced the referee selection for the final two soccer matches on Thursday, August 9, in which USA will play Japan for the gold medal and Canada will battle France for bronze, and Pedersen’s name was absent from the referee list.
The Norwegian official has been an international referee since 2007 and has officiated three matches in women’s soccer tournament, which is the same amount of games for most of the soccer officials at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Many believe Pedersen had been suspended, however FIFA has denied the allegations saying “these claims are completely untrue.” Furthermore, FIFA appointed German Bibiana Steinhaus to officiate the gold-medal match, as she is the same official who oversaw the 2011 Women’s World Cup final, which was “coincidentally contested by USA and Japan,” as per media reports.
Image Courtesy of CBC News
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