Senior UEFA refereeing officials have described the reaction of part of the English media to Swiss referee Urs Meier as "unacceptable".
It followed Meier's much-debated decison to disallow an England goal in the dying stages of last Thursday's UEFA EURO 2004™ quarter-final against Portugal. Both UEFA Referees' Committee chairman Volker Roth and vice-chairman Ken Ridden defended the decision by Meier to annul Sol Campbell's header.
"The reaction of the English press to Urs Meier after his correct decision was unacceptable," Roth said at a press briefing at the Hotel Solverde at São Felix da Marinha, just outside Espinho today. Journalists were shown a video clip of the disallowed goal, and were given an explanation as to why UEFA's referee experts considered the decision to be correct.
"The referee had to make a judgement in a single fraction of a second," said Ridden. "He had to judge in terms of whether the England defender was holding the goalkeeper as well as limiting the goalkeeper. Certainly the Referees' Committee has discussed this very thoroughly, and they feel the referee made the correct decision from his position."
Ridden praised the 12 teams of referees and assistants for their performances during the tournament, and also applauded the players for their conduct in areas that were considered as potential problems before the final round.
"Simulation has not been the problem that we perhaps foresaw before the tournament," Ridden said. "The behaviour of the players in this respect has been very good. Any such situations have been identified, and the players have been punished. The players have also been responsible in their behaviour with respect to mass confrontation of referees.
Six red cards
"We asked referees to be strict in the case of brutal play, and we are very pleased at this stage. When we looked at the statistics after the group matches, only six red cards had been necessary and five of those were for second yellow cards. We feel the players have responded very well, and we are generally happy with the performance of the referees and assistant referees."
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