The referees at the centre of Sunday’s two World Cup controversies have both been sent home from the tournament in South Africa.
The referees whose decisions denied Frank Lampard a goal in England‘s game with Germany and all but ended Mexico‘s chances against Argentina have both been discarded by FIFA.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter was forced to apologise to the English FA following the officials' failure to spot that Lampard’s first-half shot had bounced two feet over the line when it crashed down off the crossbar.
Match officials, Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda and his assistants, Mauricio Espinosa and Pablo Fandino, have been told they are not being retained for the quarter-final stages and beyond.
The officials who failed to spot that Carlos Tevez was a few yards offside when he scored Argentina’s crucial first goal against Mexico have also been asked to pack their bags.
The Italian referee involved, Roberto Rosetti, was also one of the referees that Harry Kewell accused of favouring the bigger nations. The Australian was sent off by Rosetti for a handball in their group stage game with Ghana.
With only eight games remaining in the tournament FIFA have cut a number of referees. Mali’s Koman Coulibaly, who denied the U.S. a legitimate late goal against Slovenia in his first World Cup game, has also suffered an early exit for his troubles.
France’s Stephane Lanoy has suffered the same fate for his role in the sending off of Brazil’s Kaka against Ivory Coast. The Brazilian playmaker was sent off for apparently shoving and elbowing Galatasaray’s Kader Keita but television footage clearly portrayed a playacting Ivorian.
His failure to control the game in what was a heated second half has ultimately cost him a place in the latter stages of the World Cup. World Cups, it seems, are decided by the smallest of details, even for referees.