Fri, September 20, 2013

Wambach influenced ref's controversial call

By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency


USA's Abby Wambach (L) celebrates defeating Canada in the women's semi final soccer match at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Old Trafford in Manchester, August 6, 2012. REUTERS/David Moir


LONDON - Turns out there is another villain in the soccer loss that has outraged a nation.

Did Norwegian referee Christiana Pedersen act on her own when she took down Canada in the women’s semifinal? Or did she have a little help from her friends?

While we’ll never know precisely what went through the head of the over-matched official, American star Abby Wambach brazenly admitted that she attempted to influence Pedersen’s decision that helped lead to the 4-3 comeback win over Canada.

In an interview with Yahoo Sports’ columnist Dan Wetzel, Wambach acknowledged counting out loud in front of Pedersen, attempting to force her hand and make a delay of game call.

Eventually it worked as Pederson made the call that led to the tieing goa of a game Canada eventually lost in overtime.

“I wasn’t yelling. I was just counting,” Wambach told Yahoo. “Probably did it five to seven times.”

The most crucial time, of course, was in the game’s 78th minute when Canadian goaltender Erin McLeod made a save and Wambach made her animated pitch.

“I got to 10 seconds right next to the referee, and at 10 seconds she blew the whistle,” Wambach said. “Yes (the call) is uncharacteristic but the rules are the rules. You can say it’s gamesmanship, you can say it’s smart, but I’m a competitor. We needed to get a goal. They’re trying to waste time, I’m trying to speed it up.

“I think making the referee aware of a situation, there is nothing wrong with that at the end of the day, the ref made the decision on her own.”