Wednesday 21 August 2019

Fifa deny referee asked for Cristiano Ronaldo’s shirt at half-time of Portugal vs Morocco

Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to join Juventus
Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to join Juventus

Ben Rumsby

Fifa has angrily denied extraordinary claims World Cup referee Mark Geiger asked Cristiano Ronaldo for his shirt during Portugal’s win over Morocco.

The governing body cleared Geiger of any wrongdoing after Watford’s Moroccan midfielder Nordin Amrabat said one of Ronaldo’s team-mates had told him the official had sought a memento from the striker who on Wednesday became the highest scoring European in the history of international football.

Fifa said in a statement: “It has been claimed that Mr Geiger asked for the shirt of the captain of Portugal during the half-time interval. Mr Geiger strongly refutes these claims and categorically states that such a request was not made.

“Fifa unequivocally condemns the allegations supposedly made by a member of the Moroccan team.

“Fifa referees are under clear instructions with regard to their behaviour and relationship with the teams at the 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia and it can be confirmed that Mr Geiger has acted in an exemplary and professional manner as an appointed match official.

“Fifa would like to remind teams of their duty to respect all principles of fair play.”

Amrabat, at the centre of a concussion row for being allowed to play on Wednesday just five days after being hospitalised following a serious head injury, made his claims after the match.

He said of Geiger: “I do not know what he is used to, but he was very impressed by Cristiano Ronaldo, and I hear from Pepe that he asked in the first half if he should have his shirt.

“What are we talking about? At the World Cup? It’s not a circus here.”

Ronaldo scored the only goal of Wednesday’s game at the Luzhniki Stadium to condemn Morocco to a second successive Group B defeat, which made them the first country to be eliminated from Russia 2018.

Online Editors

The Left Wing: The 'hell' of World Cup training camp, Ireland's half-back dilemma and All Blacks uncertainty

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport