Serbia carry on the fight over ref Brych

A day after being put under investigation by Fifa for complaining about the refereeing of their 2-1 World Cup loss to Switzerland and misbehaviour by fans, Serbia’s football association has filed an official complaint with the sport’s governing body alleging “biased officiating” by referee Feliz Brych.

In a statement yesterday, the Football Association of Serbia said it submitted to Fifa “seven videos that clearly showed tendency in officiating of the referee Brych to the detriment of our national team.”

Serbian officials have complained since Friday’s match in Kaliningrad that their team was not awarded a penalty for a second-half challenge by two Swiss defenders on Aleksandar Mitrovic and that Brych did not consult the Video Assistant Referee about the incident.

They also have complained that Brych showed four Serbia players yellow cards but only one Swiss player was booked. That complaint was repeated in its official communication to Fifa.

Serbia escalated the dispute by questioning not just Brych’s performance, but the fact that he was appointed to handle the match at all.

“We are not clear how the German referee could have been appointed for the match between Switzerland and Serbia, when it is well known that one of Swiss confederation cantons is a German canton,” Serbia said in its statement.

Political football

Fifa are employing special observers to crack down on political and offensive acts at matches and Mexico’s FA have already been fined for homophobic chants aimed at Germany keeper Manuel Neuer.

The Fifa Disciplinary Committee were busy again yesterday when the Polish Football Association was fined €8,600 and issued with a warning for the display of a political and offensive banner by fans during their group game with Senegal.

A statement added: “The Fifa Disciplinary Committee has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Swiss players Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri for their goal celebration during the match Switzerland v Serbia.

“In relation to the same match, disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the Serbian FA for crowd disturbance and the display of political and offensive messages by Serbian fans.

Pique in demand with female Spanish fans

Gerard Piqué is the World Cup player Spanish women dream of spending a night with, according to an internet survey. Asked by Meetic, an online dating site, which finalist they’d choose for “a night of passion”, 31% of female respondents picked Piqué, ahead of France striker Olivier Giroud (24%). and Cristiano Ronaldo 14%.

And Piqué, whose partner is the Colombian singer Shakira, has been praised by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) for helping to rescue an injured bird during Spain’s 1-0 win against Iran at Kazan Stadium last Wednesday. He and Isco, who carried the bird to safety during a stop in play, will be honoured by PETA for their compassion.

Journos won’t ride Belgium’s wave

Belgium supporters joined England fans in turning on the media in their weekend win over Tunisia. Some of the Three Lions brigade were upset by ‘leaked’ line-ups being reported from the England training ground, but Belgium’s gripe is much more basic. 

The mass army of Red Devils supporters were in the blocks adjacent to the press box in Moscow’s Spartak Stadium and were desperate to start a Mexican Wave during their 5-2 win.

But numerous attempts failed to get it going as media refused to join in the fun and were repeatedly booed by large sections of the crowd.

Ozil left out in the cold again

Mesut Ozil has been dropped from Germany’s struggling starting line-up and now the enigmatic Arsenal midfielder has not even been selected by a team-mate in his ultimate World Cup five-a-side team.

Spain defender Hector Bellerin, who was not named in his country’s squad, was asked to pick his ultimate quintet from the players in Russia and went for the following five-star selection: David Ospina (Colombia), Sergio Ramos (Spain,) Isco (Spain), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal).

Russia fixing fans’ World Cup ailments

Russia has been welcoming foreign fans and letting them gather on the street in ways usually banned under strict laws on unauthorised protests and gatherings. And Oleg Semyonov is Russia’s World Cup fixer, running a multilingual call centre to resolve taxi scams, accommodation problems and even medical emergencies.

“Fans from Tunisia, Morocco, Asian countries celebrate so emotionally that they injure themselves. Tearing a meniscus or something like that. We help them get an ambulance and emergency care in hospital,” Semyonov said.

Though, friendly or not, Russia won’t be stumping up for free healthcare.

“They receive free analysis of the condition but then they get cunning — these people are like that — and ask ‘give me this operation for free.’ A lot of them have arrived without health insurance.” 

Semyonov says the centre receives “support” from the Russian Sports Ministry and has to provide weekly reports to the government detailing the numbers of calls received and problems sorted.



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