[QODLink]
Archive
Blatter apologises for Grosso penalty
Sepp Blatter, head of Fifa, has apologised to Australian fans and said the Socceroos should have reached this year's World Cup quarter-finals instead of eventual champions
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2006 08:12 GMT
Penalty or dive? Sepp Blatter says sorry to the Socceroos
Sepp Blatter, head of Fifa, has apologised to Australian fans and said the Socceroos should have reached this year's World Cup quarter-finals instead of eventual champions Italy.

In the fifth minute of added time during the second round match between Italy and Australia, Azzurri fullback Fabio Grosso appeared to trip over Socceroos defender Lucas Neill, with Spanish referee Luis Medina Cantalejo awarding Italy a penalty.

 

Australia's players and fans were shocked and outraged, with substitute Francesco Totti putting his penalty shot past Socceroos keeper Mark Schwarzer to give 10-man Italy a dramatic 1-0 win and a place in the quarter-finals.

 

Fifa were accused of not addressing the issues of diving and feigning injury at the World Cup, with debate raging over decisions such as Italy's penalty.

 

In a television interview in Sydney on Sunday, Blatter admitted that the referees at the finals in Germany "were not at their best", however he added that the behaviour of players was the real problem for the game.

 

"I think there was too much cheating on the players' side," Blatter said.

 

"I agree with them and I would like to apologise (to) our fans in Australia.

 

"The Socceroos should have gone into the quarter-finals in place of Italy... you go into extra time and you are 11 against 10. But that is presumptuous."

 

Blatter also said that the standard of refereeing at the World Cup was not up to the standard that he would have liked.

 

"I said at the referees' committee after the World Cup, when compared to the performance of 2002, you have improved, but in my opinion not enough."

 

"But from the quarter-final to the semi-final, then you see the referees were back to being the best," he added.

 

Pay more attention

 

Neill, who plays for English Premier League side Blackburn Rovers, welcomed Blatter's apology but said the situation was worsening.

 

"It's pleasing to see FIFA is at last acknowledging and paying more attention to the issue," he said.

 

Football Federation Australia (FFA) officials accepted Blatter's apology, but remained wary that it came during an interview for Australian consumption only.

 

"It's well after the event," FFA chief executive John O'Neill said.

 

"The position he's stated is what all of Australian football fans felt at the time.

 

"It's now four months after the tournament. It's a nice gesture, but it doesn't change the result."

Source:
AFP
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
join our mailing list