Maradona criticized by FIFA for "monumental theft" comments

By Paul Giblin

MOSCOW, July 5 (Xinhua) -- FIFA have "strongly rebuked" former Argentinean football legend Diego Maradona for comments he made about referee Mark Geiger's handling of the last 16 World Cup tie between Colombia and England on Tuesday night.

England won on penalties after a late header from Yerry Mina had cancelled out a second half penalty scored by Harry Kane, who was awarded the spot kick after being wrestled to the floor by Colombia midfielder Carlos Sanchez.

Maradona commented that despite TV images showing it to be a clear penalty, England's win was a "monumental theft" and also criticized Geiger's designation as match official.

"I'm just sorry for the whole Colombian people," added Maradona.

Geiger received criticism from both the England and the Colombian press, with the English irritated at his inability to control the strongarm tactics and gamesmanship of the Colombian side, while the Colombians were angry at the penalty and the fact that England duo of Jesse Lingard and Harry Maguire were also guilty of diving in the Colombian penalty area.

However, the fact Maradona has attended games in Russia as a VIP guest of FIFA clearly stung the organizing body of world football, who said his comments were "entirely inappropriate and completely unfounded".

"FIFA is extremely sorry to read such declarations from a player who has written the history of our game," they said in a statement.

[ Editor: Xxw ]


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