More than 2,35,000 people have signed a petition asking FIFA to sanction a replay of England’s match against Colombia in the last-16 at the World Cup. The petition has been launched by a group of Colombian supporters who believe that the Three Lions gained an unfair advantage due to referee Mark Geiger’s decisions throughout the contest. Highlighting the penalty awarded to England in the second half, the disgruntled supporters claimed that it was non-existent foul when Carlos Sanchez was deemed to have brought down Harry Kane. Hence, the petitioners have launched a clamour that the match be replayed in order to set a precedent for fair play.
Another incident brought to the forefront was Carlos Bacca’s extra-time goal which was disallowed by Geiger. However, the angry Colombia fans stated that it should have been allowed to stand and have called upon FIFA to review the decisions.
Earlier, captain of the Colombian football team, Radmael Falcao also voiced his concerns over the decisions and said, “The referee disturbed us a lot, in the 50-50 plays, he always made the calls in favour of England,” said Falcao. “He didn’t act with the same criteria for both teams. When in doubt, he always went to the England side. I found it peculiar that they put an American referee in this instance. To tell you the truth, the process leaves a lot of doubts,” he added.
Argentine legend Diego Maradona also added fuel to fire and claimed that England committed ‘monumental robbery’ against Colombia. However, he later apologised for his statements after being rebuked by FIFA.
Meanwhile, England defender John Stones has criticized the approach of Colombia’s team and said it was the dirtiest team he had ever come up against. “Probably the dirtiest team I’ve ever come up against,” Stones said while addressing the media on Thursday. “When we won the penalty, they were surrounding the referee, pushing the referee, the headbutt that you’ve all seen, scuffing the penalty spot, a lot of off-the-ball things you probably haven’t heard about. All the sort of things that you don’t really hear in a football match.
“I think on our behalf, we showed massive character to keep a cool head and not get sucked into their game. I think the best thing for us was to beat them at football,” he concluded.