Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

FIFA just announced their first batch of World Cup referee assignments and because everyone assumes everyone else is out to screw them, it's a great excuse to make preemptive excuses for why your team is about to lose.

The monochrome zebra assigned to Saturday's England-U.S. match is Carlos Simon, who is considered the top referee in Brazil. As long as you don't ask a Brazilian, because they all pretty much hate him. One club president called him "a crook, scoundrel and a bastard"—and those were the nice things he said. Another team tried to get him banned from the World Cup with a formal letter to FIFA after he red carded one of their players for diving, even though video seemed to show that the striker had been hit in the heads. Yet another squad hates him because he failed to award them a penalty in a national cup final, even when their opponent agreed that they deserved it.


However, this journalist-by-day is apparently trusted by FIFA (who isn't?) since this will be his third World Cup performance. Simon's most famous moment came in 2006 when he booked Sweden's Teddy Lucic during a knockout match against Germany and laughed in his face as he pulled out the card. The man just loves his job, I guess.

The only problem with having a referee who was suspended by his home organization just last year incompetence and corruption, is that it's impossible to tell what team he's in the bag for. England doesn't trust him any more than the Americans do and if penalties play even a tiny role in this epic superpower explosion, you better believe there will be howls heard on both sides of the pond.

Good thing the man loves his penalties—he gave out 17 cards in just three games the last time around. Eh, but officiating is rarely an issue in big sports matches, right?

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