Friday, July 20, 2007

German Referee Causes Chile´s Loss in World Cup semifinal

Referee Causes Chile´s Loss in World Cup semifinal
Toronto police attack and arrest Chilean players after match

Nine Chilean players injured, handcuffed and locked up by the police in the dressing rooms at the Toronto National Stadium. A diplomatic incident between Canadian and Chilean authorities. Bomb threats against the Canadian and German embassies in Santiago. These are just some of the consequences of the incompetent performance by the trio of referees headed by Wolfgang Stark of Germany that was supposed to control play during the semifinal of the U20 World Cup.
Once again FIFA made a terrible mistake and on July 19 appointed three inexperienced and innocent referees to oversee a match of tremendous importance since Chile and Argentina were disputing a place in a World Cup final.
According to the FIFA webpage, Stark only speaks German and English, so why was he appointed to be the referee in a match between two teams whose players speak spanish?
Wolfgang Stark was unable to control the actions from the first minute by not punishing the flagrant acts of provocation carried out by the Argentinean players against their opponents. After only six minutes of play Nicholas Medina of Chile was running off alone towards the Argentine goal but was tripped and brought down to the ground by Mathias Cahais of Argentina with a sliding tackle. According to FIFA rules Cahais should have been sent off either for the late tackle or also for fouling a player that was alone in front of the goalkeeper with a clear goal scoring chance. However, Stark only showed the Argentine player a yellow card, causing the anger of the Chilean players and coaching staff. Also the Argentine players were constantly provoking and assaulting the Chilean players whenever Stark or his associates were not watching them. The Chilean players fell into the trap set by their rivals and lost their concentration, and in the 11th minute Demaria scored a legitimate goal for Argentina past goalkeeper Chris Toselli, that should have blocked the shot that came from an impossible angle. Even so Chile continued to put pressure on the rival area, but in a childish mistake midfielder Gary Medel reacted violently after being kicked without the ball by Gabriel Mercado. Medel did indeed feint to kick Mercado as he lay on the ground, but Wolfgang Stark was fooled by the Argentinean that acted as if Medel really had struck him in the face. Instead of showing both players a red or yellow card it was only Gary Medel that was sent off in the 14th minute. Obviously with one man less on the field the Chilean team was left in a disadvantageous situation from a very early stage, while for the remainder of the first half Stark continuously favored the Argentinean players by overlooking whenever they committed a foul or by awarding free kicks against Chile. To the credit of the Argentineans it must be recognized that their provocation tactics certainly caused the desired effect on their Chilean counterparts that had been in an overconfident and relaxed mood during the three days previous to the match. The second half continued in a similar fashion with the Chilean players completely in discontrol which was capitalized in the 63rd minute by Claudio Jacob that scored the second goal for Argentina. But the spark that set off the blaze that would follow after the match was set off by Wolfgang Stark as he sent off Dagoberto Currimilla in the 77th minute and also in the 92nd minute as he did not award a clear penalty against Arturo Vidal that was brought down in the penalty area. Also near the end of the match a Chilean fan ran onto the pitch and tried to assault the German referee. As the three referees tried to walk towards the dressing rooms, they were prevented from doing so for several minutes as angry Chilean fans threw bottles and objects at them, that finally escaped by running in to the tunnel.
Half an hour later Chilean television stations reported with news flashes that several players had been beaten up and arrested by Toronto police. Also the security guards at the stadium assaulted and prevented Chilean press reporters from filming as the players were handcuffed and retained in their dressing rooms. The version of the Chilean delegation is that as the players were walking towards the bus that would take them back to their hotel they were cheered by Chilean fans that were behind the police barriers. Some players tried to shake hands with the fans but were immediately beaten up and tazered by the police officers. This caused a fight between the officers and the Chilean players that ended up barricading themselves in their bus along with some ANFP (Chile football federation) officials. Some minutes later they were violently taken down from the bus by riot police that used tear gas and tazers to subdue the players.
Alexis Sanchez, one of the best players of the Chilean team was seen on television as he was handcuffed with his hands behind his back by Toronto police officers. Sanchez was recovering from an elbow injury and could be heard screaming as the police officers tightened their grip on him. FIFA’s version has been given through their spokesman John Schumacher that has surprised the Chilean press and fans after saying that the players were only “taken to a room so that the situation could de-escalate.”
The Mayor of Toronto David Miller has denied that he described police response to the repression against Chile´s U-20 soccer brawl as "rough," but expressed regret over incident. The Chilean authoritites have described the incident as “unjustified aggression” and have ordered the Consul n that city to demande a formal explanation from the Mayor of Toronto. Josè Sulantay,the Chilean coach has commented that his players lost control after being exposed to tremendous pressure before the match, ans also that it is very unlikely that Chile will play Austria this Sunday in the match for third place since many of the players are injured as well as psychologically and physically unfit to play.

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