Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Wednesday, June 26, 2002
Statement by Chairman of FIFA Referees Committee Senes Erzik
Following is a statement made by Senes Erzik, Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee: As this extraordinary FIFA World Cup has progressed over the past three weeks or so, the excitement has grown as one match after another has ended in a surprise result.
Following is a statement made by Senes Erzik, Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee:
As this extraordinary FIFA World Cup has progressed over the past three weeks or so, the excitement has grown as one match after another has ended in a surprise result.
It started with the very first match, with the pride of the World Champions understandably hurt, and the media soon started to speculate that this could be a World Cup of totally unexpected results.
And indeed, day after day, fans and media have been left astounded as one favorite after another was eliminated and there were successes for teams who had not been expected to shine.
But the unexpected is an integral part of the appeal of a sport in which the small team always stands a chance to beat the big one.
Suddenly, however, a segment of the media has changed from celebrating these unexpected results, to challenging their correctness and to trying to explain them away with spurious allegations of one type of conspiracy or another.
And the referees, whose performances in the early matches were not even a subject of discussion because of their excellence, suddenly find their impartiality being subjected to the most brutally unfair scrutiny.
As the Chairman of the FIFA Referees' Committee, I state here unequivocally that all such allegations, accusations and insinuations are totally without foundation.
I also wish to express my unwavering support for the referees and the assistant referees of this World Cup - including those who have already returned home - and my total belief in their integrity.
We cannot ignore the fact that some other sports have suffered the ignominy of corruption in recent years. But football is a sport that does not lend itself to such dishonesty. Anybody who really knows the game, the people involved in it, and the control mechanisms that are in place, knows in their hearts that this is true.
For referees, there are no small teams and no big ones. There are no favorites and no outsiders. Both teams start every match as equals. No referee would ever reach the pinnacle of his career, the FIFA World Cup, without complete integrity. It is one of the referee's most fundamental characteristics.
I acknowledge that certain errors may have been made in some matches of this competition. So it is in every walk of life. I also recognize that sometimes these decisions may have caused enormous disappointment to the members and fans of the teams involved. That, too, is part of the imperfection of sports.
Yet I still maintain that the overall standard of match control at the 60 matches so far has been high, and has met with general satisfaction of the FIFA Referees' Committee.
We acknowledge that as humans, even the best referees officiating at this World Cup may make errors of judgment when under pressure on the field of play. But we are even more convinced that as people of integrity, they do not make errors of ethical judgment.