FIFA defends Japan referee over World Cup penalty

FIFA on Friday defended Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura’s controversial decision to award Brazil a penalty in the World Cup opening game but refused to confirm if he would officiate more games in the tournament.

Nishimura was widely criticised for the game-changing spot-kick which put Brazil on the way to a 3-1 victory over Croatia on Thursday night. Other decisions also caused controversy.

But FIFA referees chief Massimo Busacca insisted Nishimura had been justified in ruling Croatia’s Dejan Lovren had pushed Brazil striker Fred.

Busacca also dismissed suggestions referees could come under pressure to favour Brazil as “fantasy.”

“He had a very good position,” said Busacca, referring to a photo of the incident which appeared to show Lovren’s hands making contact with Fred.

“When he saw the hands doing something he makes it (the decision). This is to explain the referee’s decision.

“If you play with the hands outside, if you make a contact, you permit the referee to go in one direction.”

However Busacca would not say if Nishimura would control further matches at the tournament.

“No it’s impossible because we have not made an analysis yet,” he said. “We have to analyse the 90 minutes not one decision. We have to have clear analysis and then we will see.

“It’s not correct to talk about punishment. Punishment is when you commit a crime on the streets against someone, not when you are taking an honest decision on what you saw. We’re humans.”

Busacca denied referees at the World Cup would be swayed in favour of Brazil, who will enjoy ferociously partisan support at all their games.

“When you are refereeing a situation you are only looking at player A and player B. You don’t have time to say that you are refereeing Brazil,” he said.

“Are we favouring one team? Come on, this is fantasy.”

The Swiss referees chief, who was once suspended by his domestic federation for making an obscene gesture to fans, said he was not convinced that greater use of video technology would improve football.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter earlier this week suggested video replays could be used more widely in football as part of a challenge system similar to ones used in sports such as tennis and cricket.

Busacca said he doubted whether video challenges were the solution.

“When the situation is clear 100 percent of course it (technology) can really help the referee to say ‘Yes, the player scored a goal by his hands’. But these situations are very rare,” he said.

“I’m convinced that for the black and white situations it can help the referee. But when we have cases of doubt, you may have a big interruption to play and still there will be doubt.”


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