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FIFA won't sanction Colombian player for tackle on Brazil's Neymar

SoccerSportsBrazilCrimeFIFA World Cup
Colombia defender Juan Zuniga won't be sanctioned by FIFA for tackle on Brazil's Neymar
Germany Coach Joachim Loew calls Neymar's absence from semifinal game 'bitter'
Arrest is made for scalping of World Cup tickets

A FIFA disciplinary committee announced Monday it will not take action against Colombian defender Juan Zuniga, whose rough tackle in Friday's quarterfinal game knocked Brazil's Neymar out of the World Cup because of a fractured vertebra.

"In this specific case, no retrospective action can be taken," the committee said "since the incident ... did not escape the match officials' attention."

FIFA can act to rectify obvious errors in a referee's disciplinary decision, but the panel found this regulation also did not apply in the Zuniga case because the referee, Carlos Velasco Carballo of Spain, saw the challenge by Zuniga but did not issue a red or yellow card.

Nor could the seriousness of the injury be weighed in a disciplinary decision, FIFA said.

In a separate ruling, the panel also refused to consider a Brazilian appeal of the yellow card Carballo issued to captain Thiago Silva in the same game. Silva was booked for trying to block a kick by goalie David Ospina. His second caution of the tournament means Silva must sit out Tuesday's semifinal game with Germany.

Joachim Loew calls Neymar's absence 'bitter'

Although Germany stands to benefit from Neymar's absence, the team's coach, Joachim Loew, said on the German federation's website that the injury is bad for soccer and "it's bitter and a great misfortune that he has to be absent now [for] himself, his team, the entire nation."

German players Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski used social media to send get-well messages to Neymar and Loew said he, too, hopes Neymar has a speedy recovery.

People want to see "the best players" at the World Cup, Loew said.

Arrest made for scalping

A senior executive with the official World Cup corporate hospitality provider was arrested in a Rio de Janeiro hotel as part of a Brazilian police investigation into illegal ticket sales.

Ray Whelan, a director of Match Hospitality, was arrested at the Copacabana Palace Hotel, where senior FIFA officials are staying during the World Cup.

Police are investigating the illegal resale of World Cup tickets on the black market and last week arrested 11 people and seized 131 game tickets, at least 70 of them corporate hospitality tickets.

A spokesman for Match Hospitality didn't immediately reply to requests from the Associated Press for comment. Match Hospitality is the main provider of hospitality packages for the World Cup and paid $240 million for the rights to sell corporate hospitality at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups

Re-selling World Cup tickets for profit is illegal in Brazil and against FIFA rules.

Fifteen referees under consideration for title game

Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura, who made two controversial calls in the World Cup opener between Brazil and Croatia, is among the 15 officials who will be considered to work Sunday's final. Ten others have been sent home.

Nishimura has not been the center official since Brazil beat Croatia, helped by a penalty awarded when Brazil's forward Fred fell after only slight contact on his upper left arm. Nishimura awarded a penalty kick on that play, which Neymar converted. The referee also waved off a Croatia goal, ruling a foul had occurred.

Other referees under consideration for the final include Howard Webb, the 2010 final referee from England, and New Jersey's Mark Geiger.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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