Is FIFA asking refs to be more lenient?

Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo (C) intervenes to stop an argument among players during the...

Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo (C) intervenes to stop an argument among players during the quarter-final football match between Brazil and Colombia at the Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on July 4, 2014. AFP PHOTO / POOL / FABRIZIO BENSCH

KURTIS LARSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:09 PM ET

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil -- From the Tim Donaghy files comes allegations from a German tabloid that FIFA has asked its referees to be more lenient when booking players.

Bild, one of the largest tabloid newspapers in Germany, penned a story alleging soccer's governing body -- in an effort to make the semifinal and final more entertaining -- has asked officials to avoid suspending players via red or yellow cards.

This comes following a quarterfinal between Brazil and Colombia saw 54 fouls and a serious injury to Neymar while only producing four cautions -- something Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo was criticized for.

Now, soccer media across the pond is demanding answers as to why the quarterfinal fixture was allowed to get out of hand.

"You can question every decision," FIFA spokesman Walter De Gregorio said Monday morning, denying the claim.

"This is part of the game. We will never find a referee who won't make mistakes.

"To say that there's a strategy behind this in order to allow entertainment to prevail, this is a very serious problem."

Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari said his star player, Neymar, had been "hunted" during a 2-1 quarterfinal win over Colombia.

Colombia's Juan Zuniga escaped punishment for a challenge against Neymar that caused fractured vertebra in the Brazilian star's back. Zuniga wasn't booked on the play.

"You can question every decision by a referee," De Gregorio said. "They will accept it. They're trying to do their very best, and they do."

Soccer's governing body announced Monday that Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez, who presided over a controversial Italy-Uruguay group match, will be in charge of Brazil-Germany here Tuesday night.

The above allegations aren't new to sport.

Disgraced former NBA referee Donaghy once accused the NBA of telling some of its officials to be lenient against certain players and teams during the NBA playoffs back in 2007.

Donaghy, who pleaded guilty to charges he tipped off high-stakes gamblers during his time as a ref, claimed the league told playoff referees back then to avoid calling personal fouls against a certain team because it wanted to extend a series.

Those allegations, vehemently denied by the NBA, were never proven.


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