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FIFA to address U.S.-Slovenia controversy

Referee Koman Coulibaly disallowed a U.S. goal in 2-2 tie. Federation will comment Monday.

June 19, 2010|By Grahame L. Jones and Kevin Baxter

Reporting from Johannesburg, South Africa -- Perhaps alarmed by the outcry in the U.S. over the American "goal" that was disallowed during the team's 2-2 tie with Slovenia on Friday afternoon, FIFA said Saturday that it would comment on the matter Monday.

What world soccer's governing body will say is anyone's guess, but chances are it will stand by its man, referee Koman Coulibaly, although there were unconfirmed reports circulating Saturday that he might be dropped.

Coulibaly, of Mali, nullified an 85th-minute scoring shot by U.S. midfielder Maurice Edu, ruling that there had been a foul on the play. He did not identify the nature of the foul or the player who committed it. In fact, he made no statement at all.

FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot said the refereeing panel would comment on Coulibaly's performance but added that no decision had been made on whether any referees would be trimmed from the pool.

Coulibaly was in charge of his first World Cup match.

Meanwhile, U.S. Coach Bob Bradley on Saturday said he thought it was a legitimate goal that should have been allowed and questioned FIFA's lack of transparency in refereeing matters.

"We're all accustomed to the fact that if it's an NFL playoff game and there's a call that's in question, there will be a statement by the league from the referees, but FIFA operates differently," Bradley said at the team's base camp in Irene.

"There are some aspects that are not made 100% clear. That seems to add to the discussion about the game. So from our end, we get used to that.

"We all have friends and family who ask us the same questions that most of you [journalists] ask, and you end up saying that's just how it is sometimes, and then you move on and get ready for the next game."

The U.S. plays Algeria on Wednesday afternoon in Pretoria, where a victory would put the Americans in the round of 16.

France banishes Anelka

Forward Nicolas Anelka was thrown off France's World Cup team on Saturday and sent home after refusing to apologize for an obscenity-laced tirade at Coach Raymond Domenech during France's 2-0 loss to Mexico in Polokwane on Thursday.

French defender Patrice Evra blamed a "traitor" for leaking details of the argument. He said the leak "came from someone in this group who wishes the French team harm. The problem isn't Anelka, it's a traitor among us. You have to say it."

Beckham and security breach

Police were searching Saturday, admittedly without much enthusiasm or hope, for an England fan who managed to evade all the security in place at Cape Town's World Cup stadium and got into England's locker room after the Three Lions' 0-0 tie with Algeria on Friday night.

The man, wearing a red England shirt, approached David Beckham and then left. Beckham made light of the incident Saturday, even though the security breach took place shortly after England's Prince William and Prince Harry had left the locker room.

"It's been blown out of all proportion" by the English tabloids, Beckham said. "There was no scuffle; there was no aggression."

Nevertheless, England lodged an official complaint with FIFA. "Security will be tightened so this never happens again," said FIFA spokesman Maingot.

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