x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Al Kamali raps 'biased referees'

Some of the referees who have been in charge of the Under 20 World Cup matches involving the UAE have been accused of being biased against the Emirates by the team's captain, Hamdan al Kamali.

CAIRO // Some of the referees who have been in charge of the Under 20 World Cup matches involving the UAE have been accused of being biased against the Emirates by the team's captain, Hamdan al Kamali. Ivan Bebek, a referee from Croatia, made some contentious decision during Saturday's game, denying the UAE a penalty, ignoring an ugly tackle on Ahmed Ali that forced his substitution and giving Mohammed Fawzi a straight red card for dangerous play two minutes from the end of extra time.

Bebek also gave 20 fouls against the UAE and 13 for them, missed many infringements against them and overlooked Costa Rican time-wasting. He was booed off the pitch at the end. Al Kamali said: "Referees who are officiating at World Cups are expected to be the best in the world. But what we saw in this game - and all the fans inside the stadium and watching on television are witness to it - was simply unacceptable. We were denied a penalty and Fawzi did not warrant an expulsion. Most of the referee's decisions were against us.

"This is not the first time we have seen match officials biased against us. We suffered the same thing in the Venezuela game. I would like to know the secret of this attitude against us, which shouldn't be happening in a tournament like the World Cup." Al Kamali said the officials in the Pro League were better than the Fifa World Cup referees, but added: "But we must turn the page on the World Cup and start planning for the future. We cannot rest on this achievement. We have the 2012 London Olympics."

Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed al Nahyan, the honorary president of the UAE FA, praised the team and the eye-catching football they played, telling the players to "raise their heads high" as they had honoured UAE football through their performance.