FIFA not criticizing Japanese referee over penalty

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 13, 2014 at 12:36 pm •  Published: June 13, 2014
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — FIFA's head of refereeing has declined to criticize a controversial penalty decision in Brazil's opening World Cup win over Croatia — but said everyone makes mistakes.

Brazil striker Fred fell to the ground after minimal contact with Croatia's Dejan Lovren in Thursday's Group A game and Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura pointed to the spot. Neymar converted in the 71st minute to make it 2-1 and Brazil went on to win 3-1.

"We are human," Massimo Busacca, head of FIFA's refereeing department, said Friday. "There is not one human in life that is not committing a mistake. It's part of life. The referee lives with this responsibility."

Busacca said Nishimura "had a very good position" to make the call. He showed reporters one still frame of the incident, but did not show a video replay of the disputed penalty sequence.

Busacca did not say if he thought the decision was correct. And he did not say if Nishimura would referee more games. He said the game evaluation would be based on 90 minutes, not just one call.