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WORLD CUP NOTES

Egyptians Are Upset Over Referee Choice

June 28, 2002|From Associated Press

Egyptian soccer officials criticized FIFA on Thursday for excluding their referee Gamal el-Ghandour from officiating the World Cup final between Germany and Brazil, claiming he is a victim of politics.

The final match Sunday will be officiated by Italian referee Pierluigi Collina, and Saad Kamil from Kuwait will officiate the third-place game between South Korea and Turkey on Saturday.

El-Ghandour came under criticism from Spanish media and soccer officials after Spain's loss to co-host South Korea in the quarterfinals.

Former Egypt star Taher Abu Zeid said El-Ghandour was made a scapegoat for politics inside the world soccer ruling body.

"FIFA was affected by the Spanish accusation and criticism after the match and, therefore, it couldn't take the decision to appoint el-Ghandour for another match," Abu Zeid said.

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FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter ruled out the use of video replays or other technical help for referees at the next World Cup despite a flurry of protests over disputed calls during the tournament.

"If our game is becoming scientific then we will take away its emotion and nobody would have any discussion any longer if it was offside, not offside; if it was inside, not inside the penalty box," he told reporters.

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With only two games left, no doping cases have been reported, FIFA's medical chief said.

"All 248 samples have been negative, including those of the two semifinals," said Michel D'Hooghe, the chairman of FIFA's medical committee.

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