FIFA throws out Egypt's penalty appeal

WORLD football governing body, FIFA, has turned down Egypt's protest over Brazil's match-winning penalty in their Confederations Cup game on Monday.

Referee Howard Webb was accused by the Egyptian FA of changing his decision after advice from a fourth official who may have seen a TV replay.

Officials are not allowed to use video evidence to aid decisions.

But football's world governing body says that it has found that Webb's decision was not based on video evidence.

A FIFA statement said: "The decision in question was achieved through teamwork between the match referee and his assistant referee number one, who confirmed the offence to the referee from his clear viewing angle."

Webb appeared to signal for a corner after Egypt's Ahmed El Mohamady handled on the line.

But after play stopped for treatment to the defender, Webb opted to show a red card and award a penalty, which Brazil duly converted to secure a 4-3 win.

Samir Zaher, the president of the Egyptian FA, said after the game that he would lodge an appeal with organisers.

"We will not protest against the penalty being awarded because that was the right decision, but the referee did not give the decision immediately - he gave a corner," said Zaher.

"Then he waited two or three minutes and showed the red card and awarded the penalty."

Egypt assistant coach Gharib Chawki also alleged that the manner in which the penalty was awarded was improper.

"As far as I am aware there is no rule allowing video evidence," he said.

"We're not contesting the referee's decision but the way it was made. Or maybe the rules have changed and nobody has told us."

"The decision was changed after a statement by the fourth official, after watching the monitor, that it should be a penalty."

But the statement yesterday said that: "FIFA analysed the decision by going through all the evidence at its disposal, including the referee's match report, as well as the additional statement that Howard Webb provided at FIFA's request."

Egypt's complaints were given added weight by admissions from some Brazilian players that they believed Webb had been swayed by advice from Australian Matthew Breeze on the touchline.

"The referee didn't see the penalty and the linesman didn't see it either. It looks like the fourth official told him over the radio," said striker Luis Fabiano.

The controversy echoes the sending-off of France's Zinedine Zidane in the 2006 World Cup final against Italy.

It has been alleged, although subsequently denied by FIFA, that Horacio Elizondo was advised to dismiss the three-time world player of the year for a head-butt only after one of his assistants viewed the incident on a pitchside monitor.

FIFA has consistently chosen extra manpower rather than technology to help referees and matches in next season's Europa League will see two extra officials stationed behind the goals to monitor penalty-area incidents.

Replays have been employed with some success in tennis, rugby union, rugby league and cricket.

Also in the news

FIFA working to fill stadia

INCENSED by the scanty seat noticed at the championship, South Africa's football organisers are being pressurised to generate more public enthusiasm for the Confederations Cup tournament, a spokesman for FIFA has said.

FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, on Monday criticised organisers of the Confed Cup for not doing enough to fill the stadia. His comments came after the second match of the tourney of continental champions, featuring Spain against New Zealand, which was played in front of a half-empty stadium in Rustenburg.

"We are really focused on working with our colleagues in the LOC (local organising committee) to invite people to go out and buy tickets and follow this tournament, which is a major competition in the footballing calendar," FIFA spokesman, Nicolas Maingot, told AFP.

"For the first time in the history of the Confederations Cup, you have three teams participating which are in the top five of the FIFA rankings (Brazil, Italy and Spain). We can only urge people to go and buy tickets and support this tournament."

However, Maingot refused to confirm reports that free tickets might be distributed to fill the grounds: "Concrete measures will not be communicated at this stage," he said.

Blatter held a meeting with organisers on Monday to address the issue. FIFA had previously said it was confident that it would witness sell-out stadia at an event that is the traditional dress rehearsal for the World Cup. There has been criticism over the lack of advertising of the Confederations Cup within the country, as well as dissatisfaction with the ticketing policy, which is not suited to the pockets of South African soccer fans.

The average match ticket costs 70 Rand (six euros, nine dollars) in a country where 43 per cent of the population lives on $2 a day.

Source: The Guardian