RIO DE JANEIRO: FIFA rejected Brazil’s request to allow suspended captain Thiago Silva to face Germany in the World Cup semi-finals on Monday as they angrily hit back at claims referees had been ordered to take a lenient approach to foul play.
A statement from FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee dismissed Brazil’s plea for Silva out of hand, stating there was “no legal basis” for the defender’s yellow card against Colombia to be rescinded.
In a further snub, FIFA disciplinary chiefs also ignored the growing clamour in Brazil for Colombian defender Juan Camilo Zuniga to face retrospective punishment over the aerial challenge that ended Neymar’s tournament.
The statement said the committee “deeply regrets the incident and the serious consequences on Neymar’s health”.
But Zuniga could not be punished because the incident in Friday’s stormy quarter-final had been seen by the match officials at the time, a statement said.
Disciplinary action could only be applied retrospectively in cases of mistaken identity where a referee shows a yellow or red card to the wrong player.
The statement emphasised that even though Neymar had suffered a serious injury in the incident — a fractured vertebrae — it could not have a bearing on how Zuniga’s case should be handled.
“We wish Neymar a prompt and complete recovery as we wish the same for all players who have sadly been ruled out of the World Cup through injury,” it added.
Zuniga has apologised for the tackle and insists he had not intended to cause Neymar injury.
The incident late in Friday’s clash in Fortaleza has become the focal point of anger directed at match officials.
Several commentators have criticised the performance of Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo, saying he allowed a climate of physicality to escalate, culminating in Neymar’s injury, by failing to sanction players on both sides with yellow cards earlier in the game.