x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Referee who disallowed apparent US goal will be subject to Fifa review

Fifa refereeing experts will comment tomorrow on the performance of match official Koman Coulibaly in the United States' 2-2 draw with Slovenia.

JOHANNESBURG // Fifa refereeing experts will comment tomorrow on the performance of match official Koman Coulibaly in the United States' 2-2 draw with Slovenia. Nicolas Maingot, a Fifa spokesman, said yesterday that the governing body would not discuss Coulibaly's performance before a scheduled session tomorrow when the 30 World Cup officials and members of the Fifa Referees Committee will meet with the media.

The panel also has yet to agree if any referees will be cut from duty before the tournament ends. "This is a decision that is left to the referees committee," Maingot said. Asked if Fifa was assessing Coulibaly's display in Friday's match, Maingot said, "We don't make any comments on referees." Coulibaly, from the African nation of Mali, waved off an apparent goal by Maurice Edu from Landon Donovan's free kick in the 85th minute on Friday night. The US had rallied from a two-goal deficit to even the score.

Yahoo Sports reported that a Fifa source, close to senior figures on the refereeing panel, said the official would be likely to be cut from the tournament "if he is found to have made a serious mistake, especially one that affected the outcome [of a match]". US players said they asked Coulibaly repeatedly why he disallowed the goal, but received no answer. Speculation has ranged from a possible foul on American captain Carlos Bocanegra, who had an arm around Nejc Pecnik, or one on Clint Dempsey, who pushed Andraz Kirm.

Replays show more Slovenes holding Americans than vice versa. For example, Aleksandar Radosavljevic held Michael Bradley in a bear hug, and Edu seemed to have to fight past a clawing defender to get free for the disallowed shot. Bob Bradley, the US coach, had another theory: Coulibaly might have regretted his decision to award the free kick. Valter Birsa had been penalised for a foul on Steve Cherundolo.

"I think it's a good goal, first. I think the only things really that could be called would be penalty kicks for us," Bradley said. "There are times when a referee, for whatever reason, blows a foul and now thinks either he didn't make the correct call on the foul or from a previous play, and then literally as soon as the free kick's taken, he blows his whistle, OK? "So you can speculate all you want about which guy and everything; I think it's a waste of time. All right?

"I think there was nothing there. I think it's a good goal. " 

* Agencies