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Saudia Arabia Gives Parreira Quick Boot

<i> From Times Wire Services</i>

Saudi Arabia was the first team knocked out of the World Cup this year, so it made Carlos Alberto Parreira the first coach to be fired.

Parreira, who led his native Brazil to its fourth world title in 1994, was released by the Saudis after shutout losses to Denmark and France.

“I don’t feel happy and I don’t feel comfortable with the decision taken by the Saudi officials,” Parreira said. “At least they should have let us continue until the end of the World Cup.”

Parreira, who left the MetroStars of MLS in the middle of a two-year deal to work for Saudi Arabia, was the eighth coach sacked by the Saudis in less than four years. He signed a one-year contract with the Saudi federation in December for a reported $3 million.

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Mohammed al-Khuraishi, a Saudi coach, will direct the team in its next match, Wednesday against South Africa.

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Croatia will file a protest with FIFA because a Serb interpreter was brought out to translate for the team’s coach at a news conference in Nantes, France.

After Saturday’s World Cup victory over Japan, a Croatian diplomat climbed onto the podium during the post-match interview session and asked to be allowed to translate Coach Miroslav Blazevic’s remarks in French for Croatian reporters, but the FIFA press officer in charge refused.

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The interpreter continued as scheduled.

“This is a FIFA press conference,” FIFA’s Markus Siegler said. “Even if the lady speaks with a Serb accent, I’m not going to allow any politics in here.”

The translator said she was from Belgrade, the Yugoslavian capital. She refused to give her name, saying she did not want to get involved in the incident.

Siegler said he would advise Croatia’s next World Cup venues to make sure Croatian translators are on hand.

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Referees erred at some World Cup matches by failing to show cards for violent fouls, FIFA admitted.

While admitting mistakes were made, the international soccer governing body asserted the standard of officiating at France 98 has been generally good and referees aren’t facing undue pressure to be tougher.

Referees’ performances are judged on a 10-point basis after each match. The average score for the 24 matches was 8.1, with the lowest 6.4 and the highest 9.0.

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