Refs draw fire at London Olympics

Alex Morgan scores in the last minute of extra time to give the U.S. a 4-3 win over Canada. (AP photo)

Alex Morgan scores in the last minute of extra time to give the U.S. a 4-3 win over Canada. (AP photo)

Referees’ controversial calls are stealing part of the spotlight from the athletes at the London games.

The biggest blow-up comes in the wake of the U.S. women’s epic 4-3 win over Canada in soccer Monday.

At issue was a delay-of-game call against the Canadian goalkeeper and a hand ball on the ensuing free kick that resulted in a penalty-kick goal for the U.S., tying the score at 3-3 and sending the game into overtime, where the U.S. won with a dramatic last-minute goal.

“We feel like we got robbed in this game,” Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod said. “The referee said I had the ball for ten seconds. She obviously counted the time I was on the ground with the ball. Once I got to my feet I calculate I only had the ball for five seconds. … the referee was very one-sided.”

Canadian team captain Christie Sinclair was equally blunt: “We feel like we didn’t lose. We feel like it was taken from us. It’s a shame in a game like that, which is so important, that the ref had such an impact on it. We feel cheated.”

Canadian coach John Herdman was furious.

“The ref, she will have to sleep in bed tonight after watching the replays. She’s gonna have to live with that. We will move on from this. I wonder if she will be able to.”

But American star Abby Wambach said the controversy was much ado about nothing.

“There was a few other times throughout the game that [McLeod] held it for 18 seconds, 10 seconds,” Wambach said. “And the referee had warned her before to play quicker. It’s the referee’s call. I feel like you can’t blame something on the referee.”

U.S. coach Pia Sundhage wasn’t shedding any tears for the Canadians either. Asked if she felt sympathy for her opponent after the controversial calls, Sundhage had a one-word answer: “Nope.”

Meanwhile, a water polo referee has apologized to Spain for blowing a call that cost the Spaniards a match against Croatia.

Boris Margeta was banned from officiating any more Olympic games after he allowed the Croatians a goal that shouldn’t have counted.

At least he’s owning up to his mistake.

“It was very bad,” Margeta said in an interview with TMZ. “After I saw the replay I knew I made a mistake. My apologies to Spain’s team.”

Spain, at least, will live to fight another day for the gold. They finished third in their bracket and moved on to the quarterfinals.

Not Canada, though. The U.S. will play Japan Thursday for the gold medal, while Canada plays France for the bronze.

74 comments Add your comment

DannyG

August 7th, 2012
7:41 am

USA!!! Well, Canada is a bunch of whiners.

bcart1991

August 7th, 2012
7:52 am

The Canadian GK was still holding the ball for 10+ seconds throughout OT, AFTER getting called for the foul and ensuing PK. You think she would have learned something…

CSD

August 7th, 2012
7:53 am

Canada is correct that call was total rubbish.

Bob Marley

August 7th, 2012
7:55 am

I wish the win had not been contraversial. It did look like the 10 second rule, THAT TIME, had not been violated by our northern neighbor.

B

August 7th, 2012
7:58 am

Missed calls were going both ways in that match. Wambach was leveled near the goal by two Canadian players, should have been a penalty kick and wasn’t called. However I thought the handball was a bad call.

Butch

August 7th, 2012
8:01 am

It went both ways. The ref missed a pretty bad take down of Alex Morgan in the box after the third goal was scored about five minutes later that should have been a PK anyway. The Canadians just whine. They said the US was so over the top illegal as far as physicality. I saw plenty of the same from our neighbors from the north. A hockey game almost broke out.

US#1

August 7th, 2012
8:08 am

If all the calls were made perfectly during the game, the US still would have won. Watch the match a few times and you will see mistake calls on both sides. If anything the match would have gone to penalties and well, you know the US would have won.

don

August 7th, 2012
8:12 am

I didn’t get to see the game, but the rule for the GK is NOT 10 seconds. It’s actually 6 seconds. If Canada’s GK had been warned previously about taking more than 6 seconds and trying to waste time, then she really has no complaints. GO USA!!!!!

Soccer Ref

August 7th, 2012
8:12 am

WHY DOES SOCCER ONLY HAVE ONE REF?

It would be make more sense to have at least 2 refs? Can you imagine having one ref in the nfl?

It doesn’t make sense.

Walker, Texas Ranger

August 7th, 2012
8:24 am

I have watched some boxing and I can not figure out what these judges are looking at. It goes the opposite way that it should every time. By the way, if you haven’t watched boxing, it is a sad state of affairs for team USA. They will not have a singel medal.

observer

August 7th, 2012
8:28 am

One ref is plenty in soccer since nothing much happens.

SM

August 7th, 2012
8:35 am

The bottom line is you shouldn’t put yourself in a position for the refs to decide the game/match for you. If you don’t go out and take the win yourself, you can’t argue what happens.

SM

August 7th, 2012
8:36 am

@Walker, Texas Ranger
There is nothing surprising about the boxing results because the refs have been bought. We’ve already had two instances of judges and/or refs being paid to rig results. It’s boxing, what else would you expect???

BubbaDaBaller

August 7th, 2012
8:37 am

Eeeeeeeeeeegads! Questionable officiating at the Olympics? Oh, wait its the Olympics…My bad…
Ggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggooooooooooooaaaaaal!

Soccer Ref II

August 7th, 2012
8:37 am

Soccer Ref – “WHY DOES SOCCER ONLY HAVE ONE REF?

It would be make more sense to have at least 2 refs? Can you imagine having one ref in the nfl?

It doesn’t make sense.”

There are actually 4 referees typically in an international match. Center, two linesman who can call fouls, and 1 referee who monitors the sidelines and substitutions

JP

August 7th, 2012
8:39 am

The calls go your way one day and not the next. The way it is in any sport period.

will

August 7th, 2012
8:43 am

sucks for them hahaha

dawgfan

August 7th, 2012
8:45 am

Canadian beer sucks.

I like to comment on stuff I have no knowledge about

August 7th, 2012
8:46 am

The keeper can only hold for 6 seconds.

So

August 7th, 2012
8:50 am

Oh please. It’s women’s sports, what’s the difference?

corner kick

August 7th, 2012
8:53 am

Canada’s Melissa Tancredi had 7 or 8 (or more) fouls, and was never given a yellow card. I guess Canada wants to ignore missed calls that went their way.

Chazs

August 7th, 2012
8:57 am

Look at the stats: the USA had more time of possesion, more corners and no yellow cards. There were bad calls on both sides; late calls get magnified towards the end of the game.

RugbyPlayer

August 7th, 2012
9:04 am

Soccer needs a ref to sort out all the fake injuries. These “athletics” are a bunch of sissy actors. Watch a rugby game and the players will do everything possible not to show they are hurt. It’s nauseating to watch soccer players fall to the ground, writhing in pain on their last breath and see the replay that shows there was not any contact at all. Rugby will be in the 2016 games….I can’t wait!

DC

August 7th, 2012
9:04 am

Thank you “Soccer Ref II”…the ignorance in the room is overwhelming…11 more days until the Prem kicks off!

ww

August 7th, 2012
9:13 am

This is why I like track and swimming. The clock decides who is best.

PLAYFAIR!!!

August 7th, 2012
9:15 am

Most of the comments noted above are exactly why the crowd was cheering for Canada. Many Americans just don’t get why they are not liked by the rest of the world – in fact, thanks to the tightly controlled US media, many don’t even know they are not liked.

Here’s an excellent example of why this is so;

Late in the game, a Canadian player lay injured on the field, USA had control of the ball and the game continued on. A few minutes later a USA player lay injured on the field, Canada had control of the ball, the Canadian player kicked the ball out of bounds, stopping play so the USA player could get medical attention. It’s called “sportsmanship” folks!

Apparently, the Canadian player knew all about the lack of health care in the USA, since health care is also free in Britain.

Navel gazing Americans will never get it. It’s also why, a few days before the start of the Olympics, a British newspaper’s front page screamed “TWIT ROMNEY”. Of course none of this was ever reported by the tightly controlled US media. Yup, land of the free indeed.

Ben

August 7th, 2012
9:15 am

McCleod has a history of delays and was warned repeatedly in the prior game against GB. I am sure Sundhage brought this up before the game for the refs to watch out for it (like Herdman brought up supposed “illegal defense” on USA defended set pieces and corners), and McCleod was likely even warned during the game to speed up her restarts. You can not hold the ball longer than 6 seconds if you are not under pressure. It’s a tacky foul, but if you know you are under scrutiny for it, she has nobody to blame but herself. And her defender for chicken-winging at a shot that was going wide anyway.

DC

August 7th, 2012
9:23 am

@Playfair…its not the players job to stop play..its the ref’s..and especially if the other team thinks the person is faking to get a breather..why stop..especially if it is in a favorable position…AGAIN..its not the players job to stop play.

The Truth

August 7th, 2012
9:28 am

Soccer…..whining is the first rule in the book. ” all players and coaches shall whine about everything”… Rule 2: If touched players shall fall and roll on the ground as if shot by a sniper.

Al Bundy

August 7th, 2012
9:40 am

BTW, technically, there is only one Referee in American football, but there are other officials (Field Judge, Back Judge, Linesmen and Umpire). But I didn’t miss your point.

o-my dawgs

August 7th, 2012
9:44 am

Nothing is perfect…move on.

globeflyer

August 7th, 2012
9:46 am

I thought it was a very physical game on both sides.@Playfair: Are you serious? The Canadians and Brits get “free” health-care IF they can get in to see a doctor. As far as the “Twit” headline….do you think we “navel-gazing” Americans really care??? We fought a war over that once and, to the best of my knowledge, we decided that we didn’t care what the Brits thought as long as they left our shores! The “tightly-controlled” media is ALL IN for Obama, why in the heck would they suppress anything negative about Romney???

RugbyPlayer

August 7th, 2012
9:50 am

There is NO lack of health care in America. A ‘right’ to services without charge, that forces someone else to provide for you, does not and should not ever exist in America. No one in a free society should have a ‘right’ to anything that requires others to toil against their will on behalf of those unwilling to provide for themselves.” Also, Just ask the Canadians and the British, and everyone else if they want to change their health care system towards something close to what the USA has….over 46,000 Canadians came to the US in 2011 for medical treatment. 6 month waits are standard to see a specialist in Canada…Canadian Premier came to US for treatment. If you can’t be helped ..free means nothing….

Kashi

August 7th, 2012
9:53 am

I watched every seconds of this match and REF made a RIGHT call. Goali was already warned and she just ignored the RULES of this great game. Canadians leveled Alex (twice) and Abby inside the box but REF didn’t allow a PK to USA. I can gurantee that the highest FIFA ref would at least call for PK on taking Abby down. I wish Joel Pavano would cover both sides call here then just a call against Canadian goalkeeper handball.

HairyDawg

August 7th, 2012
10:23 am

PLAYFAIR…Lack of healthcare in the US? What? You are so out of touch. It sometimes takes a year to 18 months to get treated for cancer in UK. 18 hour wait times in the Emergency Rooms.That’s what you get for free! That’s why our ex-pats come back to the U.S. to have their children and get treatment — U.S. Healthcare is the best in the world. BTW-It’s not free healthcare either. The Brits get to pay incredibly high taxes for that benefit. They seem to forget that too. You, just like many other Americans, don’t get it. Nothing is for free in this world. Get your head out of your arse please. If you don’t like it here, go somewhere else. I’m sure Canada would love another free loader.

WHOAcanada

August 7th, 2012
10:23 am

DONT IGNORE THE REF WHEN THEY SAY FINAL WARNING.

VegasGT

August 7th, 2012
10:34 am

I watched every second of this game as well and actually Ref at the High School level. There were calls that could have gone either way both for and against each team. I actually thought that the Canadian coach had earned some latitude with his pre-game complaining and was lucky to be where he was, going into extra time. Tancredi deserved at least four yellows in my estimation with the worst resulting in an American player laying on the field and her smiling/laughing as she walked away. I like the Canaian team as a whole, but she and her coach do it great harm.

The handball was an easy call, looked like they could have called it on two Canadian players as it deflected off the forearm of one and ito the hands of another.

The delay of game call was deserved as well. The rule is six seconds, not ten and she was warned repeatedly, not just in this game, but in the previous one as well. Given that she had the warning and continued with the delay in extra time earned her the call.

The ultimate result was fair. In my opinion, the Canadians were lucky to get it to extra time given that they should have been a man down pretty early into the second half. This is a non-issue.

fes

August 7th, 2012
10:36 am

@Walker Texas Ranger The US has two female boxers that are going to get medals and possibly a male. Know what you’re talking about or shut your mouth. I will agree that the scoring/refereeing has been atrocious though.

oldtimer

August 7th, 2012
10:38 am

Playfair? Take your liberal ass to Canada if you don’t like it here. Or just stick around here. With ObamanoCare we will take just as long as Canada to get health care soon.

Sam

August 7th, 2012
10:51 am

Who cares? It is women’s soccer.

DC

August 7th, 2012
10:58 am

Many people care actually Sam…get with the times..

Bob

August 7th, 2012
11:04 am

The Goalie had been warned several times before the foul was finally called. Gey ovet it Canada!!!

Eggy66

August 7th, 2012
11:06 am

VegasGT, you say you ref at the HS level. Then you should understand the FIFA definition of deliberately handling the ball. Deflections off the arm close into the body don’t fall in the definition. Also, you start counting 6 seconds from when the keeper has control and is on her feet. If you look at the replay, you get 5 seconds on the play in question. Whether or not she got away with it at other times is not the question. Those two calls were clearly decisive. Obviously it was a hard fought game on both sides, but I think the Canadians showed class when they kicked the ball out of bounds for the downed US player even though they had the ball in an attacking situation. The US side didn’t do this for the Canadians earlier.

Sean

August 7th, 2012
11:08 am

I’m with Sam.. So what.. No one cares.. It’s Soccer. Let’s move on to something that really counts and is worth talking about..

Kashi

August 7th, 2012
11:08 am

Enough said. The Ref made fair call, only unfortunate is the ball found the hand of Canadian defender and it was clearly a handball ensuing a PK. If she haven’t used hand to defend it, that ball would be in the net and that would tie a game at 3-3. Taking down Abby inside the box and getting away with PK was lucky for Canadians. Both teams played very good but at the end Americans had better stamina to play 120 minutes and overpowered the Canadians. Well said VegasGT, Canadian player #14 Tancredi should have been red carded.

sharphooter78

August 7th, 2012
11:10 am

The officiating in that game was not particularly good. There were some shaky calls both ways. Officials blew at least one or two calls in the first half. Tancredi should’ve gotten a yellow for repeated fouls. There was a clear foul on Wambach inside the box in the second half. As for the delay of game, it WAS a delay of game, the replays show she held the ball for 10 seconds. However, in all my years of playing and watching soccer (almost 25 now) I have seen referees give a yellow card to goalies for time-wasting, but never an indirect free kick. There were two handballs on the ensuing kick. Those are both judgment calls, but I would’ve called it as well. It’s hard to ignore two of them. Anytime the arm is away from the body, you open yourself up to that call going against you. Rapinoe didn’t get called because her arms were against her body and I think the ball hit her chest or shoulder anyway.
Playfair – I disagree with you on both accounts.
Everytime someone went down injured, both sides put the ball out of bounds. The incident you are referencing, the US kept playing because their own player went down. Let’s be clear though, with the exception of Desiree Scott (who was clearly injured) the rest of that stuff were players stalling who suffered minor injuries.
Side note – The story about the British response to Romney was very heavily publicized here in the States.

alex

August 7th, 2012
11:15 am

@PLAYFAIR:, your lithium refill is at cvs,TAKE IT!

Soccer Dad

August 7th, 2012
11:19 am

I watched a replay of the entire game and ran it back-and-forth. The keeper was playing games with the refs, and the field players, particularly #8, were doing the same. The keeper actually came out of the box on the play in question. Then there was a definite hand ball in the box. Stinks for Canada, but these things happen in almost every soccer game. Usually the lesser team commits the most violations out of frustration. The right team is moving on.

Soccer Dad

August 7th, 2012
11:28 am

Flayfair!!!……people outside of America don’t like America because they’re jealous, pure and simple. If it weren’t for America, the official language of the EU would be German. I think most of the EU feels a twinge of embarassment over this and, thus, the animosity. But rest assure, most Americans don’t give a flip about what others think. Because we know where it comes from. We were bred to be the best and sometimes that elicits jealousy.

DC

August 7th, 2012
11:34 am

Sean…soccer is just the biggest sport in the world…When ManU and Manchester City played this year more people watched that game than the super bowl…so yeah…continue to be in your little world…