Referees Committee Defends Linesmen
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Responding criticism from FIFA’s president, a member of the group’s referees committee defended the officiating at the World Cup Friday, saying Sepp Blatter has not ordered any changes in the way offsides is called.
Edgardo Codesal Mendez, who refereed the 1990 World Cup final, said Blatter has repeatedly told linesmen that if they have any doubt about whether a player is offsides to keep their flag down.
``Nothing has changed. The instruction is still the same,″ Codesal said.
Codesal acknowledged referees can make mistakes, but emphasized that out of some 4,000 refereeing decisions in the first 56 games of the World Cup, only a few have been incorrect.
``If you were analyze all the decisions, you could find five or six mistakes,″ he said. People ``always the emphasize the mistakes, but never the right decisions.″
In an interview published Thursday in the Milan daily Gazzetta dello Sport, Blatter described the rulings of some linesmen as ``a disaster″ and said certain decisions against Italy during the tournament had caused him to ``suffer greatly.″
The Italians, eliminated from the World Cup on Tuesday after losing 2-1 to South Korea, harshly criticized the officiating during the tournament, saying they were the victims of numerous bad calls.
SENEGAL’S CHEFS: The two brothers came only as fans of Senegal’s soccer team. Now, Ousmane and Adama Ndour are the most famous cooks at the World Cup.
The brothers had promised to cook for Senegalese fans to try to keep costs down in one of the most expensive countries in the world. When Senegalese officials caught a whiff of those Dakar delicacies, though, they were asked to prepare a meal for the whole team.
They picked Senegal’s famous rice and fish thiebou diene, and within the course of a meal, their destiny changed.
``We imprisoned them,″ Senegal’s French-born coach Bruno Metsu said. ``They cook too well; we eat too well.″
Ever since, the Ndours have prepared one meal a day for the team as it crisscrossed South Korea and Japan right into the quarterfinals. In their first World Cup appearance, the Senegalese became a storybook tale.
``We have the winning formula. We give them the food and they go out to win,″ said Adama Ndour, whipping up a paste to mix in a huge pot of tomato sauce.
Other teams have lined up professional cooks for years and have nutritional specialists to oversee everything from breakfast to dinner’s desert _ if the players can have one. Many of those teams are already eating local fare back at home.
ENCOURAGEMENT FROM CONGRESS: House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts Jr. (R-Okla.) introduced a resolution praising the U.S. players and coach at the World Cup.
``I want to recognize the outstanding job these athletes have accomplished. Getting to the quarterfinals is no easy task,″ Watts said.
``This resolution commends Coach Arena and all of the players of the U.S. National Soccer Team for a job well done.″
TOO MUCH CEREMONY: Senegal may have little to complain about so far this tournament, but coach Bruno Metsu said the protocol ahead of every match is causing difficulties for his tall, powerful defenders.
``These 20 minutes are too long,″ he said.
Once the players have warmed up on the field, they have to go back to the locker room and wait to be waved in for the official team presentation. The ceremony includes the playing of the national anthems and the display of the FIFA Fair Play flag.
``I have big guys. They sweat. They cool down again,″ Metsu said.
When the players finally start the match, they are stiff, he said.
``The first 10 minutes out there, they have a tough time,″ he added.