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plea for Silva out of hand, stating there was “no legal basis” for the defender’s yellow card against Colombia to be rescinded.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
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
The statement emphasized 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 apologized for the tackle and insists he had not intended to cause Neymar injury.
Silva branded Zuniga’s challenge a “coward’s tackle” on Monday at an
eve-of-match press conference.
The Brazil captain expressed disappointment that he would not be playing after his team’s unsuccessful bid to have his suspension quashed.
“My heart will be on the field. So will the heart of Neymar,” Silva said.
The incident which injured Neymar in Friday’s clash in Fortaleza has become the focal point of anger directed at match officials.
Several commentators have criticized 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.