Imagine, if you will, either Jim Joyce or Joe West being assigned to work this autumn’s fall classic if their public gaffes went far beyond honest mistakes or episodic megalomania. That’s not quite what’s happening in advance of the World Cup in South Africa, but it’s certainly curious that FIFA have selected veteran referee Carlos EugÃªnio Simon to work next Saturday’s Group C encounter between England and the United States given that he was suspended for the final 6 months of Brazil’s domestic campaign. From the Guardian’s Dominic Fifield :
Some 12 months earlier Flamengo had been so incensed by the sending-off of their striker Diego Tardelli in a critical game against Cruzeiro “ the forward appeared to be fouled for a penalty, only to be sent off for diving “ that they wrote to the Fifa general secretary, JÃ©rÃ´me Valcke, with an accompanying DVD, demanding Simon (above) was dropped for the tournament in South Africa. Their defeat by Cruzeiro had cost them a place in the following season’s Copa Libertadores.
Simon, 44, retains the support of Fifa although his propensity to court controversy could unnerve Fabio Capello. The Brazilian authorities felt compelled to sanction him last November after he disallowed a Palmeiras goal, scored by Obina, in their 1-0 defeat by Fluminense, the official judging the scorer to have fouled an opponent in the build-up. The Palmeiras president, Luiz Gonzaga Belluzzo, duly went public with his frustrations at the referee’s performance.
“He’s a crook, a scoundrel … just a shameless bastard,” Belluzzo said at the time. “He must be in someone’s pocket. If I met him in the street, I would slap him. What he did was unbelievable and he was helping Fluminense. He should be driven out of football.” His comments were noted and, after a dialogue with the national referees’ association, Simon was eventually suspended by the Brazilian federation for “a repetition of mistakes committed during the competition”.