Jun 12, 2014; Sao Paulo, BRAZIL; Croatia forward Ivica Olic argues with referee Yuichi Nishimura following the match against Brazil in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians. Brazil defeated Croatia 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

World Cup 2014: FIFA defends referee Yuichi Nishimura from Brazil-Croatia game


It took all of one game in the 2014 World Cup for there to be a controversy surrounding referees. Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura made a controversial call to award Brazil a penalty kick against Croatia when forward Fred went down after what appeared to be minimal upper body contact.

The Croatian players and head coaches have spoke out about the call, even suggesting FIFA go ahead and give Brazil the trophy and save everyone else the time. FIFA referees chief Massimo Busacca has come out and said that the penalty awarded for Brazil against Croatia’s Dejan Lovren was justified.

“The referees know the responsibility at the World Cup is a lot, every decision can change a lot,” said Busacca, via Sky Sports.

“In refereeing, we have black and white but we also have cases that can be on the borderline.

“Yesterday, we can discuss; was it enough (contact)? Yes or no?

“On the pitch, the referee takes a decision in less than one second. He is concentrated on the gesture and when you see the hands doing something, it’s difficult to arrive at one conclusion.

“This is what the referee saw on the pitch, he had a good position, but he is not the attacker or the defender, we have to ask them if it’s enough (contact) to fall down.

“There was contact, if you don’t have the contact then we would not be here to discuss it. If the player doesn’t touch, doesn’t hold, we don’t discuss it.

“The left hand touched and then also the right. If you play with the hands out, the referee sees that clearly and decides one way.

“For every player, we can consider their performance and how they did – for referees it is the same. Mistake? It’s your opinion, you can say it if you want.”

Busacca wouldn’t comment on whether Nishimura would referee any other games, but added that referees aren’t swayed to favor Brazil.

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Tags: 2014 World Cup Brazil Soccer Croatia Soccer FIFA World Cup World Cup 2014