Sport World Cup

Tuesday 23 September 2014

20,000 sign petition after referee Peter O'Leary is spotted 'celebrating' Nigeria win

Tom Sheen

Published 23/06/2014 | 15:40

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Referee Peter O' Leary of New Zealand shows Nigeria's John Mikel Obi the yellow card during the 2014 World Cup Group F soccer match between Nigeria and Bosnia at the Pantanal arena in Cuiaba June 21, 2014. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (BRAZIL  - Tags: SOCCER SPORT WORLD CUP)
Referee Peter O' Leary of New Zealand shows Nigeria's John Mikel Obi the yellow card during the 2014 World Cup Group F soccer match between Nigeria and Bosnia

An online petition has already drawn 20,000 signatures to remove referee Peter O'Leary from the World Cup after an image appeared of him 'celebrating' with Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

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The New Zealand referee drew widespread criticism after wrongly disallowing an Edin Dzeko strike after 21 minutes.

Eight minutes later Peter Odemwingie fired the Super Eagles in front, but Emmanuel Emenike appeared to clip the heels of Emir Spahic in the build-up.

That went unpunished and the appearance of the picture has prompted a Bosnian fan to send a petition to Fifa asking for the removal of O'Leary and the match to be changed to 1-1.

Nigeria.jpg 

In the aftermath of the game Manchester City striker Dzeko, who also hit the post late on, said O'Leary's performance was "shameful".

When asked what happened in the game he said: "The referee happened. We are going home, we are sad because of that, but the referee should go home too, because he changed the result, he changed the game, and that’s why we lost.

"We tried to come back after the goal where there was obviously a foul on our captain and before when I scored a goal it was not offside. Nigeria played good as well, but the referee was shameful for this competition."

When asked what happened in the game he said: "The referee happened. We are going home, we are sad because of that, but the referee should go home too, because he changed the result, he changed the game, and that’s why we lost.

"We tried to come back after the goal where there was obviously a foul on our captain and before when I scored a goal it was not offside. Nigeria played good as well, but the referee was shameful for this competition."

Bosnia were eliminated from the tournament as they needed at least a draw.

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