LONDON -- FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, is investigating Monday’s Olympic semifinal between the U.S. women and Canada -- only it’s not investigating what you think.
According to Jeff Blair of the Toronto Globe and Mail, FIFA isn’t concerned about the controversial rulings of Norwegian referee Christiana Pedersen but rather the Canadian team’s reaction to those calls.
According to the report FIFA is “analyzing incidents that occurred after the conclusion” of Canada’s 4-3 overtime loss to the U.S. The report left an unspoken threat of suspension and/or fines hanging over the team as it attempted to regroup ahead of Thursday’s bronze-medal match against France.
Several frustrated Canadian players, including captain Christine Sinclair, goalkeeper Erin McLeod and Coach John Herdman, said they thought the game had been taken from them by the officiating.
Sinclair is among those who could be suspended before Thursday’s game.
“It’s a shame in a game like that, which is so important, that the ref decided the result before the game started,” said Sinclair.
Added Herdman: “The ref, she will have to sleep in bed tonight after watching the replay. She’s gonna have to live with that. We will move on from this. I wonder if she will be able to.”
Forward Melissa Tancredi reportedly told the ref: “Put on your American jersey. That’s who you played for today.”
Pedersen has denied numerous interview requests from journalists in both her home country and abroad. And FIFA released a statement earlier Tuesday basically saying it would say nothing about the referee’s performance.
Canada, meanwhile, indicated it would not protest the game.
But if all that wasn’t enough drama, then there’s this admission from U.S. forward Abby Wambach. It was her penalty-kick goal that sent the game into overtime after Pedersen penalized Canada for delay of game when McLeod failed to get rid of the ball in the required six seconds following a save.
Wambach admitted she frequently stood near Pedersen while counting out the seconds as McLeod held the ball, trying to run out the clock on a 3-2 Canada lead. On at least five occasions in the second half McLeod held the ball more than 10 seconds, nearly double the time allowed by the rules.