FIFA suspends, fines Christine Sinclair for 'unsporting behaviour' at Olympics
By QMI Agency
Christine Sinclair during Canada's semifinal match against USA at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Aug. 6, 2012. (ANDREA COMAS/Reuters)
Olympic hero Christine Sinclair has been suspended for four matches for criticizing the officiating -- Canadian fans would call it fair criticism -- after a semifinal game in women's soccer at the London Olympics.
Sinclair displayed "unsporting behaviour toward match officials," the FIFA disciplinary committee announced Friday.
The Canadian Soccer Association has asked FIFA for the reasons behind the judgment. The CSA said in a statement it would not comment further.
Sinclair, the captain of the Canadian team, scored three goals in a stellar losing effort against the U.S. The Americans won 4-3 with the help of questionable officiating by Norwegian referee Christina Pedersen.
"We feel like we didn't lose," Sinclair said after the game.
We feel like it was taken from us. It's a shame in a game like that, which is so important, that the ref decided the result before the game started."
Canada led 3-2 with about 12 minutes to play when Pedersen missed an apparent hand ball by the Americans in their own penalty area.
Pedersen then whistled Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod for delay of game -- a rarely called penalty -- when she ruled that the goalie took more than six seconds to put the ball in play. On the resulting free kick, the ball glanced off a Canadian defender in the penalty area. Pedersen then awarded the Americans a penalty kick and Abby Wambach tied the game.
The Americans won the game in extra time.
Pedersen's calls set of a firestorm of complaints and criticism across Canada.
As for Sinclair's comments, FIFA reviewed them the next day but allowed the captain to participate in the bronze-medal against France, which Canada won 1-0.
The 29-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., also was fined an undisclosed amount.
She served as Canada's flag bearer at the closing ceremony of the Games.