Fri, September 20, 2013

Canada won't challenge Olympic soccer officiating

By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency


John Herdman, coach of the Canadian Olympic women's soccer team, is shrugging off the threat of potential sanctions against his outspoken players heading into Thrusday's bronze-medal match with France. (REUTERS)


LONDON - The Canadian Soccer Association will not appeal or challenge the officiating in Monday’s 4-3 loss to the United States, spokesman Richard Scott says.

When asked if he thought he might be without star scorer Christine Sinclair — or any of the other players who made controversial remarks critical of the officiating — for Thursday’s bronze-medal game, Canadian head coach John Herdman didn’t sound worried.

“From my perspective, I’m sure we’ll be where we need to be on game day and good decisions will have been made,” he said, “and the bronze medal game will be well as it should be.”

FIFA, the governing body of soccer, is “analyzing” controversial comments made by the Canadian women’s soccer team after their semifinal loss to the U.S. Monday.

At this point, it’s unclear if that could mean suspensions for Thursday’s bronze medal game against France.

The Canadians were critical of the work of Norwegian referee Christian Pedersen, including Canadian captain Sinclair, who questioned Pedersen’s integrity.

“We feel like we didn’t lose. We feel like it was taken from us,” said Sinclair, who scored all of Canada’s goals in the game. “It’s a shame in a game like that, which is so important, that the ref decided the result before the game started.”

Said FIFA in statement: “Following the Olympic women’s semifinal match between Canada and the USA played at Old Trafford on the evening of 6 August, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee is currently analyzing incidents that occurred after the conclusion of the match.

“Further information will be provided only after the Committee are in possession of all the elements of the case.”

That certainly makes it sound like Sinclair or other players could face disciplinary action including being suspended for Thursday’s bronze-medal game against France.

Herdman said he wasn’t exactly clear on what FIFA was investigating and said his focus has been getting his players ready for Thursday’s game.

“My job is to keep the team focused on the bronze medal,” he said.

Pedersen made a series of controversial calls led to the 4-3 U.S. win in extra time Monday.

A source with the Canadian Soccer Association said the organization did not expect any sanctions for Sinclair or any of her teammates.

The controversial sequence started with Canada leading 3-2 and about 10 minutes remaining in regulation time: Pedersen missed what looked like a hand ball committed by the Americans in the U.S. penalty area.

Shortly after that, Pedersen made an extremely rare call when she penalized Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod for delay of game by ruling McLeod took more than six seconds to put the ball in play. Pedersen awarded the Americans a free kick and it glanced off Canadian midfielder Diana Matheson and then hit Canadian defender Marie-Eve Nault in the arm while she was in the penalty area.

Pederson awarded the Americans a penalty kick and U.S. star Abby Wambach tied the game.

After the game, Sinclair tweeted from her Twitter account (@sincy12): “I would like to thank everyone back home for all the love and support. It means the world to us all. One more game to get on the podium.” chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson