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Sunday, 23 June, 2002, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
Refs guilty of rough justice?
Spain coach Jose Antonio Camacho criticises Fifa after his team's dramatic loss to South Korea.

Are you disappointed with the standard of refereeing, and which decisions have been particularly bad?


South Korea have shocked the football world with a place in the semi-final, and although the co-hosts have been good value for their wins, their opponents have been less than amused.

During their quarter-final fixture with Spain the referee ruled out three seemingly legitimate Spanish goals.

And Italy fared little better with two goals disallowed in their 2-1 loss to Croatia in the group stages and another two goals ruled out in the following match against Mexico.

The final straw for Trapattoni's men came against Korea with Totti sent off in extra-time for diving and a goal by Damiano Tommasi ruled out for off-side.

Is it time for Fifa to review the refs, and which blunder tops the list for worst decision so far?


This debate is now closed - A selection of your e-mails appear below.


It's not the first time there have been a controversial calls by the referees. As humans we all make mistakes. There seem to be more complaints as European soccer power houses are knocked out. I don't seem to hear any complaints from African nor Asian countries.
Jeff,Canada

Italy and Spain are bad losers? If you are passionate about football you should be - atrocious decisions robbed them of possible World Cup glory.
John Eames, England

Italy were undoubtedly the victims of poor refereeing decisions, as were, to a lesser extent Spain. However, the Koreans worked hard to gain their place in the final four and deserve to be credited for their good performances, rather than dwelling on the officiating.
Mikkel, Scotland

Open Quote
Whining is great if it prompts Fifa to look hard at its officiating rules
Close Quote
Sophia, China/US

It is daft to continuously say that any controversy is sour grapes. If there is real concern about any kind of scandal it should be investigated. The way that the footballing great and good have been rubbishing suggestions of a scandal just makes me more worried that one has taken place
Edward, England

Every World Cup has its share of officiating mistakes. But this year is exceptional in the high profile mistakes that materially change the outcome of matches.
David, USA

I am especially surprised by criticism of Italy and Spain for their expressions of anger and frustration. Why shouldn't they be angry? Their claims are far from groundless. Whining is great if it prompts Fifa to look hard at its officiating rules.
Sophia, China/US

Open Quote
Human error is all part of the game. However, blatant incompetence isn't
Close Quote
Lukr,UK/Italy

The players and coaches are only interested in complaining when the referee makes a mistake that goes against them. It is time that they stopped the play acting and whingeing and just got on with the game. Then maybe they would have a reason to complain about bad refereeing.
Alan Gray, England

The officials in this World Cup are absolutely atrocious. Someone earlier said that human error is all part of the game. However, blatant incompetence isn't. The decisions against Spain, and yes, Italy, have been ridiculous.
Lukr,UK/Italy

I have read many comments about how refeeres should be from "world class" leagues and not from "obscure" countries like Uganda! Do referees from such "obscure" countries train and work by a different set of rules? The problem here is that it is the "elite" who lost. Referees are human whichever part of the globe they are from!
Cathy, Uganda/Germany

There is way too much at stake in a World Cup to just say "stop whining and accept that refs are human, make mistakes, its all part of the game, etc". The fact is, this is a multi-billion dollar industry and players' careers and lots of money are at stake - the World Cup is not played "just to have fun."
Paul, USA

Open Quote
Keep football as it is. No technology, just humans - that's what makes it the great game it is
Close Quote
Graham Popple,UK

There is no doubt that there have been some dubious refereeing decisions in the World Cup but is it really any different to any league in the world? The home advantage that the Koreans have had with the crowd is no different to the advantage that, say, Manchester United get when they play at home. They should introduce an additional referee with one in each half like in Hockey
Andy, England

The errors made by the referees in this World Cup have ruined the hopes of too many countries. Why can't Fifa adopt instant replays to help referees make critical decisions?
Tim, Hong Kong

Two weeks ago I enjoyed a debate with a German supporter about the ball that did/didn't cross the line in the 1966 World Cup final - 36 years after it happened. Similarly, there's the "Hand of God" incident. With better referees or with technology neither of these incidents would have been discussion points. Keep football as it is. No technology, just humans - that's what makes it the great game it is.
Graham Popple,UK

Open Quote
Refereeing in the World Cup as a whole has been poor and sub-standard
Close Quote
Thangvung,India

Whilst some of the refereeing has been a bit harsh at times, is there something that could be done about the blatant and pathetic amount of diving that has been ruining this World Cup. Everyone is doing it - from the best (Rivaldo!) through to the worst. Could a post-match analysis be started so if it's missed during the game something can be done about it. Fines aren't enough. Start giving out match bans - it will soon improve the game.
Phillip, England

The refereeing decisions throughout the tournament have been quite consistent apart from the Germany v USA game where there was clearly an arm/hand used to clear the ball from the goal.
Mike,England

Refereeing in the World Cup as a whole has been poor and sub-standard. The red card awarded to Brazilian midfielder Ronaldinho and Italy's Totti are enough proof of the poor refereeing. Clearly there is no uniformity in awarding fouls, yellow, and red cards. If this trend of poor refereeing continues unchecked, corruption of all sorts will dominate the next World Cup.
Thangvung,India

Open Quote
Many nations have lost due to wrong decisions, but it's part of the game
Close Quote
Ibrahim El Missiri, Egypt

How can players and managers complain about poor decisions when they spend the entire 90 minutes trying to con the ref into making them. You can't have it both ways!
Paul,UK

Aside from the obvious refereeing errors in disallowing goals, the biggest fault of referees has been a failure to penalise shirt pulling which seems to have been legalised this World Cup.
Rishi, England

The referee sees the event in an instant and has to take a decision but we see it replayed tens of times from several angles. People are listening because Spain and Italy are the ones complaining. Many nations have lost due to wrong decisions, but it's part of the game.
Ibrahim El Missiri, Egypt

I know Fifa are trying to be politically correct but some of these referees have never been under as much pressure as they have at the World Cup. Maybe FIFA should think about giving these referees from smaller footballing countries a few opportunities to referee in some of Europe and South America's top leagues, so they can at least witness the kind of microscope and pressure they would be put under in a World Cup.
Marc Teesdale, Wales

The Italians are just bad losers!If they had played forward for the last 10 min of the game against South Korea they would have won. They played like cowards and lost and now it is the referee's fault.
Alexander Baillie, Scotland

Open Quote
All this whining from the European nations such as Italy and Spain sounds like sour grapes to me
Close Quote
Alex, England
I think Hugh Dallas was quite right to stick by his decision in the USA v Germany game as he came out and explained why he had made the decision not to award a penalty. But what is unbelievable is that there are referees from places such as Uganda and Egypt refereeing important quarter-finals, and then being responsible for unforgivable mistakes during certain games. In my opinion we should stick with the referees from European countries such as Dallas and Collina.
Steven, Scotland

I am very disappointed. Argentina did not go through due to their own lack of merit, but what happened to countries like Italy and Spain is a scandal. This World Cup is a big circus, anyone watching the Spain- Korea game last Saturday could see that. And now everybody talks about it, yet the unjust results are upheld. These games should be played again.
Maria, Argentina

I believe the referees are only human after all and only take decisions on the spur of the moment. The "underdogs" deserve credit when it is due.
Anthony, UK

Referees are human. Therefore they make mistakes which can go either way. Although highly irritating at times, it is part of the game and applies to almost every sport. All this whining from the European nations such as Italy and Spain sounds like sour grapes to me.
Alex, England

Now that Korea is the beneficiary of a series of questionable calls, they want everyone else to display a maturity they didn't have themselves. Hats off to the Korean team for their hard play, energy, and heart. A little humility at their extraordinary good fortune would be refreshing.
Dan, Korea

Open Quote
Referees are only human and they do make mistakes
Close Quote
Benedict Lloyd, New Zealand
FIFA should regard deliberate cheating (eg. rolling around on the floor, pretending that you've been hit in the face by the ball) as the fraud that it is and not just treat it as high jinks. Fines are not enough. A referee can make a mistake, but his decision is final. Trying to intimidate him by standing in front of him, pointing at your eyes, is not going to endear you to him.
Caroline,France

It seems quite true that there had been some questionable decisions made by referees in this World Cup. However, it is wrong and even shameful that Italians and Spanish are putting down the Korean team so they can save their faces. I'm not implying that the two beaten teams were bad. They were excellent and they surprised the viewers with wonderful football skills they had.

The only difference between Spain and Italy was that the Italians were unnecessarily violent and confrontational, refusing to accept the fact that they had lost, whereas Spanish players conceded like gentlemen.

Referees are only human and they do make mistakes. It had happened in the past and it will probably happen again in the future. The Korean Team deserved to come this far and I hope they win the World Cup this year without any more controversies so we don't have to listen to these 'psycho-babbles' any more.
Benedict Lloyd, New Zealand

There has been some terrible officiating in this tournament, and all the officials involved should be punished. Although how Brazil have got away with some of their diving and cheating, I have no idea. When the player admits that he will do it again, the officials should take it into consideration when handing out red cards.
Fire, England

Open Quote
These matters have to be investigated as at the end of the day the best team should be the winner and not the loser
Close Quote
Imran Shah,Scotland
Although there were some mistakes made by the referees, if the whistle wasn't blown, the Korean goalkeeper would have definitely caught the ball. I'm sure the Korean team didn't want to win the match either if they knew that the whole world would be thinking the referees played a big role in our win.

In our point of view, we played a fair match. The whistle was clearly blown before the Spanish team had a kick on the ball. Also, nothing had been done in the Olympics when we lost our Gold medal through such poor judgment. Compared to that, this is nothing. Don't attack us because we're weaker than other countries. The world finding only our match as "injustice" is injustice itself.
SJ, South Korea

I am a huge football fan and i am deeply disappointed at the standard of refereeing at the 2002 World Cup. Mainly the standard of the assistant referee has been left much to be admired. As the viewpoint of a fan this can be very frustrating.

The bad decisions that have been so critical are those five decisions against Italy and two against Spain. Think about it, if it had been England that had these decisions go against them, it would probably have caused uproar. These matters have to be investigated as at the end of the day the best team should be the winner and not the loser.
Imran Shah,Scotland

What disallowed goals against Italy and Spain? If you knew the rules of football, you wouldn't be saying it. I think intelligent Europeans are quiet because they know those weren't disallowed goals at all. I don't know about other games, but in a few months time, this controversy over the Korean games will be recorded as the worst nonsense ever in World Cup history and those who drove or bought these ridiculous arguments will be publicly apologizing.
Charles, UK

Vieri could not hit the target from two yards out. Spain scored four penalties to South Korea's five. That is why South Korea are through to the semi final. Stop whinging.
Hugh, UK

Open Quote
Boo hoo hoo. Whatever mistakes the refs have made is part of the game. It can go either way
Close Quote
David, US
German goalkeeper Kahn should be suspended for his remarks. It is an insult to Fifa and football. If he doesn't trust the referees, he shouldn't bother to play in the semi-finals. If Germany lose I am sure he'll say 'I told you the referee wasn't gonna be fair'. This is even worse behaviour than the Italians as Kahn is already looking for cover and scapegoat just in case Germany loses. Is he that insecure?
Rick, UK

Boo hoo hoo. Whatever mistakes the refs have made is part of the game. It can go either way. All other sports, even in Olympics, have teams or players whining about referee's decisions because it didn't go their way. If you want to take out the human factor, adopt a replay system like the NFL did few years back here. No matter how you look at it, the Koreans won with heart and determination over these overly paid and arrogant players who couldn't convert the chances they had.
David, US

There should be a definite level of experience that qualifies a referee to be a World Cup referee - and officiating five Concacaf or five African World Cup qualifiers can not possibly count as high as two or three Uefa or South American qualifiers. There should be some system that is known to all for these guys to shoot for.
JS, USA

I think they should stop the red card and yellow card as punishment for taking a dive, and should introduce pink cards with, 'Big Girl', written on it. I think that would put an end to it.
Alex Crisp, S. Korea and U.K.

Why can't people just accept what happened in this World Cup. Why is it that only when the ref sides with an underdog it's bribery and when the refs sides with an European team it isn't? Just accept the fact that Europeans have lost to the so called "underdog teams." Our goal was to get to the second round. There is no reason for us to bribe anyone.
Jae Yoo, Korea

At the end of the day, Sepp Blatter is responsible for the quality of refereeing. After the farce of the 2002 games, he should resign.
David Larmer, Hong Kong

Open Quote
Italy, Spain and Portugal should create their own "World Cup" so that each team is guaranteed at least third place
Close Quote
Rap C, Korea
Hugh Dallas should be thoroughly ashamed of himself. His attempt to excuse his decision not to give the USA a penalty in the quarter-final against Germany beggars belief. He simply does not know the rules of the game.
Mike Chandler,American living in UK

Given the reaction of Italy, Spain and Portugal, and some fans in other countries who show disrespect for Korea's achievements, I have devised a rule for the World Cup to satisfy those countries:

Rule 1. The World Cup should be awarded to the team with the highest Fifa ranking (no need to actually play because of those pesky officials).

Rule 2. If that top ranking team is not a "traditional powerhouse team" from Europe or South America (e.g. Korea) that team should be disqualified until you come to a team from Europe or South America (preferably a team that has previously won the Cup).

Alternatively, Italy, Spain and Portugal should create their own "World Cup" so that each team is guaranteed at least third place. However, the three teams may still whine about officials and complain that the matches were fixed!
Rap C, Korea

Open Quote
Poor refereeing has been there before in the World Cup
Close Quote
Fabian Masha, Japan
Dave (UK), check your facts before writing. The only criteria for handball is if, in the opinion of the referee, the player INTENTIONALLY handles the ball. Whether he gains an advantage is immaterial.

One option is that Fifa should change the rules so that intent is irrelevant. This would take away one inconsistency that annoys players and supporters alike; the referee's interpretation which changes from minute to minute, let alone match to match.
George, UK

Poor refereeing has been there before in the World Cup. The only difference with this World Cup is that the super powers are the victims of poor refereeing while previously the underdogs were the victims. If it were the underdogs we wouldn't hear all these noises! No one is talking the injustice of USA against Germany, or Turkey against Brazil. All we hear is Italy, Spain v Korea.
Fabian Masha, Japan

Those of you who think that Fifa should use only "the best referees" regardless of country of origin (meaning chiefly European referees, because of course everyone knows that it's only in Europe that football is played at the highest levels) ought to look at the sorry performance of the European refs in this World Cup. Anyone remember the Spaniard who issued a World Cup record in cautions and sendings-off?

And as a USA fan, I can tell you that both Urs Meier and Hugh Dallas were unmitigated disasters, just awful. Meier was overawed by the huge pro-Korean crowd and allowed the Korean players to run roughshod over anyone who stood in their way. As for our mind-reading Mr. Dallas, he needs to ask himself how the relatively small US players could cause so many six foot plus German players to fall like sacks of potatoes?
Open Quote
When a match is getting fixed it usually requires both sides to agree on the fix
Close Quote
Bon, US

Could it be that Europe based players have become so cynical that the referees there think that cheating and gamesmanship is an acceptable part of the game? Clearly Mr. Dallas did not think the US belonged in that game, and didn't seem to bother much about being fair. If this is the best Europe can offer, please, the rest of us really don't need your charity.
Ramon E. Creager,USA

When a match is getting fixed it usually requires both sides to agree on the fix. People believe that it happens in boxing matches, which is rather easier to fix dealing with mainly two individuals. Now, if you try to fix a soccer match held in the World Cup that just doesn't sound sane. Are you trying to tell me that those players actually hit the pole intentionally? Or he tried to miss it but got a little too close? C'mon now, let us not go too far on that.
Bon, US

The disallowed goal for Belgium against Brazil. I have seen it several times, a disgrace.
Allan Partridge, U.A.E

Introducing some kind of second 'video' ref wouldn't just help improve the accuracy of decisions - I would like to see this technology brought to bear against the divers and play-actors that make life so difficult for the referees. Forget fines - they're worthless - but yellows and reds issued post-match would have a significant impact on player's behaviour during the major tournaments.
Bill, England

In my opinion the Totti sending off was incredible for two reasons. Totti's first yellow card was for an elbow, whilst a Korean player had thrown a deliberate elbow at Del Piero's chest which was acknowledged but not actioned by the referee.
Open Quote
People no longer respect the refs, and rather trust TV broadcasters and ill-angled TV replays
Close Quote
Young Woo Park, S. Korea & USA
Also in extra time, Ahn had a penalty appeal turned down shortly before Totti was booked again for diving.
Giovanni Sechi, Italy

Many people have asked for video replays during the match. However there are going to be situations when a replay might prove the refs decision to be wrong, yet there will be no easy way to remedy the situation. For example, the Spanish goal against Korea when the linesman flagged that the ball had crossed the by line. The Spanish scored but the Koreans had stopped playing, would the goal have stood or not after a replay?
Daniel Buckley, UK

Dallas was completely in the wrong. There is no such rule as ball to hand. It is a fact that if the ball strikes the hand and an advantage was gained then it is a free kick. In this case it was a penalty for the USA. Dallas knows it and bottled the decision. The fact that he admits to having a clear view and still made the decision he did would suggest to me that he is incapable of refereeing at this level.
Dave, UK

The problem is that people no longer respect the refs, and rather trust TV broadcasters and ill-angled TV replays. Then why don't we start making the World Cup like stupid American Football? Maybe people will shut up about the refs if World Cup have timeouts, quarters, and commercial TV break in every three minutes.
Young Woo Park, S. Korea & USA

Having an extra official looking at video could be done very quickly; they could use radio to inform the ref of anything of note. They use this system for rugby and it doesn't slow the game down by much.
Paul, UK

Open Quote
I hope South Korea or Turkey go on to win this World Cup - it would teach the arrogant "super powers" of football that they are not all that
Close Quote
Q, England
Both match-fixing by gambling rings and bribery in business are nothing new in South Korea. The police and European football authorities should investigate whether the officials in the South Korea games were offered incentives to fix the matches.
Ian Bourne, UK

It is obvious that Spain and Italy's continuous shouts of there being a fix in the World Cup is simply a result of them not being able to accept that they were beaten by an unrated South Korea. Stop your crying! Accept the decision as adults, not like children, and get on with it! If Italy or Spain had lost to Brazil or Argentina I'm sure there would have been no conspiracy theories as there are now.

And I see that no-one has talked about the disgraceful punch which Pinto of Portugal landed on the referee after his justified sending off! If that had been a player from an unrated Asian or African team we would never have heard the end of it from the European press! I hope South Korea or Turkey go on to win this World Cup - it would teach the arrogant "super powers" of football that they are not all that, and to shut up and improve their game for the next World Cup.
Q, England

How many legitimate goals is it going to take to knock the Koreans out of this tournament? To be honest, for the sake of football I hope they beat Germany and are systematically taken apart by Brazil. There may well be another two goals disallowed, but you can't rule out seven. Everyone should get behind Brazil as they are the only team capable of restoring everyone's faith in football!
Graham Simons, UK

The refereeing has been variable to say the least. However one advantage of Italy being out of the World Cup is that the final can at least have the best referee. Collina has looked in quiet control of any game he has refereed. If Fifa choose any other it would be a travesty.
Andy, England

Open Quote
By refusing to allow referees to use instant TV evidence, Fifa is doing its best to fuel conspiracy theories.
Close Quote
Andreas Caranti, Italy
If players weren't continually trying to con the officials and got on with showing us that they can play football the officials' job would be easier and there would be less errors. As for the so called class teams- if you don't take chances in front of an open goal or put away your penalties in the convincing manner that Korea did you don't deserve to be there at the end. If anyone has ridden their luck it was Spain against Ireland!
Matthew O'Flynn, England

I really felt for the Spanish team and supporters. They were truly robbed, it is a mockery of football to score twice and not be even be credited. I am now totally convinced that corruption has entered into the World cup. I wonder if those goals would have counted if Korea had scored identical goals.
James Hinton,England

Just think how difficult it is to enforce the offside rule. You have to look at the ball to see when the pass forward starts - how can you be checking the potentially offside players at the very same time? By refusing to allow referees to use instant TV evidence, Fifa is doing its best to fuel conspiracy theories.
Andreas Caranti, Italy

The refereeing 'mistakes' surely amount to a conspiracy, but by whom? Before we judge the Koreans, let us consider the only meaningful alternative. Didn't anybody consider who may eventually benefit from the elimination of Italy and Spain? Germany, obviously. Apart from the Korea matches, one of the most glaring 'mistakes' was the handball in Germany v. USA. Is there anybody within Fifa - with German connections - who is powerful enough to stage corruption on this scale? Think about it...
Jesper Frederiksen,Taiwan (but Danish)

To state that most of the appalling referees come from places where there is no significant world class competition is pure racist garbage of the vilest kind. Can anyone say that the spirit of competition is any less in say Vietnam than it is in Brazil? Moreover, anyone can referee a match, and anyone can cock it up - witness the English referee and Danish linesman of the Croatia v Italy match. Am I not right in thinking that they are European?

Open Quote
What would we talk about if there were no bad decisions from referees?
Close Quote
Wayne,England
What is needed is an international standard to which everyone can aspire backed up by technology. Europe has no monopoly on good referees, good linesmen, good football or good sporting behaviour.This is the World Cup and the inclusion of multi-national officials is all part of the great celebration of football. So stop whingeing and show some feeling for your fellow humans.
Dave, Brunei

I think it is unfair of Stuart Roach to say that Spain and Italy have only themselves to blame for missing other opportunities to score. There are always more missed chances than goals - he seems to imply that if a team scores 9 out of 10 chances and has them all wrongly disallowed then they are to blame for losing because of the one chance they missed!
D Riley, UK

A message for John McEvoy, Australia. I think if you watched most penalty shoot outs all keepers move from the line. What would we talk about if there were no bad decisions from referees? At least Korea had the right attitude; they wanted to win the game and brought on another attacker before 90 mins.
Wayne,England

I do not agree with your view on the disallowed Morientes' goal being the worst decision. I am 100% sure that the goalkeeper would have saved the ball if the referee hadn't blown his whistle, and I would like to add that the same thing goes for the Tomassi goal.

Also I would like to recall the decision of Weegereef to give a penalty to Uruguay against Senegal, that's what I call a dive. I think the worst decision was the penalty awarded to Brazil against Turkey; what was that linesman doing? The referee in that game was favouring Brazil in a disgusting way anyway!
Willem, The Netherlands

Open Quote
If the weaker nations of football had gone out due to bad decisions there wouldn't have been a single comment
Close Quote
I. Khan, UK
If the players' behaviour on field were subject to as much scrutiny as the refs decisions and disciplined accordingly it would possibly be fair to introduce this. But imagine the impact to the flow of a game and imagine how long 90 minutes would take. It can't be worth it, and every coach would want every decision questioned and analysed by video - it would never work. Enjoy the game and accept that there can be bad refs.
Christopher Laird, Japan/UK/Ireland

The refereeing in the Champion's League was much better than it has been at the World Cup, but Fifa seems to be more concerned about having a 'World Cup' of referees for the officiating too. We do not need to have a United Colours of Benetton - United Nations-esque global village of referees and linesmen representing all four continents and as many countries as possible - just get the best referees you can! Whether they are mostly from the same continent (Europe) doesn't really matter.

Besides, the vast majority of players in the World Cup play in European leagues so why not have a higher proportion of refs from Europe? If you look down your list of appalling refs you can see that most of them come from countries in parts of the world without significant world-class football taking place.
Alistair Wheate, Netherlands (British ex-pat)

If the weaker nations of football had gone out due to bad decisions there wouldn't have been a single comment.
I. Khan, UK

The football authorities must come to accept that football is more than a sport, but a business - and introduce a second "video" referee. Football is too important, there is too much money at stake, the careers of managers and players rest upon the decisions - sometimes wrong - of referees. TV cameras can be used to convict players of offences after the event. It's time they were used to ensure the result was right too. It might put a stop to the endless moaning from managers, players and the media too.
Richard H, England

Open Quote
The refereeing in the Champion's League was much better than it has been at the World Cup
Close Quote
Alistair Wheate, Netherlands
Fifa is to blame because they're dragging their feet over video replays. Every one of the stadia has large screens where, if the referees looked, they would see the blunders. Rugby League, Cricket and other sports have appreciated that we are in the 21st Century not the 19th. Also Fifa need to take responsibility for referees' mistakes and invoke a mechanism to amend those mistakes immediately: the fourth official has access to video replays?
Phil Noskeau, UK

Can you imagine Korea as world champions and they fail to qualify for 2006?
Munya, SA

What is the fuss about? The decisions made by the ref (in conjunction or because of decisions of 'assistants') are final. In Rugby, any attempt to argue would be summarily punished. Sport MUST respect the rules and the arbiters of those rules.

If Vieri had been skilled enough to put a 5 metre tap in where it deserved to go, the Italians would be through. Morientes et al the same. Even England! We should remember that referees are not paid anywhere near the exorbitant amounts of the players, and yet have a far harder job - being fair to both sides.

It is also extraordinarily insulting to hear people saying South Korea should not be where they are. If Italy, Portugal, Spain and (dare I say it) England had played with half as much energy, enthusiasm and skill as them then the competition would be far greater.
Mark, England

Open Quote
Fifa is to blame because they're dragging their feet over video replays
Close Quote
Phil Noskeau, UK
Italy could have played definitely better at this World Cup, and Spain too. They should have scored 5-6 goals against Korea, then there would be no comments against refereeing. Now, this is an interesting point of view.
Marius, Romania

We should refer to the men running the line as linesmen if they are not to assist the referee. The referee isn't necessarily well placed to make the call; a poor line judge running the line is the problem. It is their poor judgement that threatens to ruin the beautiful game - magic eye anyone! The ref isn't to blame.
Gary Trotter, UK

Only one solution to face what has become the real risk of referees disallowing perfectly good goals: forget defensive football, go for goals. One or two may not be enough, as Spain sadly experienced.
Michael Witty, Spain

The worst refereeing by far was the South Korean who took charge of Brazil v Turkey. Ridiculous late penalty for Brazil, constantly allowed them to encroach at free kicks and bottled out of cautioning Rivaldo for play-acting
Ted Colley, England

The refereeing has been really bad. Italy and Spain especially have been affected by this injustice. Replays and video evidence should now been allowed as they do in cricket. I am sure referees do not want the error of their decision to haunt them for the rest of their lives, like player who miss penalties. The game of football is at stake and this issue needs to be resolved.
Sanjay Soni, UAE

Open Quote
The worst refereeing by far was the South Korean who took charge of Brazil v Turkey
Close Quote
Ted Colley, England
The World Cup has become much more than just a football competition. Video evidence is inevitable, it's what the public wants, and it's what we should get. It's a nonsense to say it slows the game down, when the current system not only halts play but unnecessarily stresses out whole nations. For the sake of the future integrity of the competition this must be done.

If a player calls a decision into question and is blatantly wrong he could be sent off. This would minimise calls and stop arguing with ref on the field. Sort it out Fifa
Mario, Wales/Italy

Where is the penalty committed against Turkey in favour of Brazil? Everybody in the World saw that it was clearly at least one metre outside of the penalty area and Brazil won with this penalty goal. And another error: what about the theatrical fall of Rivaldo? Hakan Unsal of Turkey got a red card and Rivaldo got nothing...
Yavuz Anacak, turkey

Yet another decision that I believe the Spanish have a right to feel aggrieved about is the save during the penalty shoot out by the Korean keeper. If he had moved any further off his line before the kick was taken he could have shaken hands with the penalty taker before the shot!! Another case of the ref bottling in front of the home fans.
John McEvoy, Australia

Open Quote
I am sure referees do not want the error of their decision to haunt them for the rest of their lives
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Sanjay Soni, UAE
What about the Red Card for Ronaldino in the Brazil vs England for a trifle of a foul?
Kamal, Canada

Enough of the puerile whining. Errors are part of the fabric of the game. Without the error in allowing Maradona's 'hand of God' goal, would the English triumph over Argentina this year have tasted as sweet? Such mis-calls and errors set a delectable table for future play.
Vecchione, USA

The referees were calling it as they saw it during the match. Whether the decision was in error or not is debatable depending on which team you are supporting. The Italians and the Spaniards just can't believe that they can lose to an unrated Asian team and are suffering from illusion of grandeur because they believe that the only way for a non-rated team to beat them is to conspire with the referee.

Please don't insult the integrity of the officials and Fifa as a whole. From what I see, both the Italians and Spaniard did not deserve and could not win even if the referee were "on their side" The quality of their football was not what is used to be and the Italians especially should come off their high horses and take a good look within themselves. They have only themselves to blame for the defeat and not the referee.
Robert Leong,Malaysia

One cannot help but wonder why Korea never gets the rough end of the referee's stick. Italy and then Spain have fallen to blatantly partisan decisions, both from the referee and his assistants. I feel an enquiry into refereeing and the decisions is necessary. But Fifa may be afraid of skeletons in their cupboard, for Fifa gains by Korea winning and having the stands jam packed.....
Thomas Abraham, India

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The Italians and the Spaniards just can't believe that they can lose to an unrated Asian team and are suffering from illusion of grandeur
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Robert Leong,Malaysia
There is no doubt that there have been some terrible decisions during the tournament. Fifa however can't be blamed for individual errors out there on the pitch. What would be wrong would be for Fifa to change the rules or apologise to the super powers of soccer because they can't beat an enthusiastic and slightly lucky team, Korea.
Christian J, Australia

There's no doubt that the referees and their assistants have made poor decisions during this year's World Cup. But then that is life. Is life fair? Of course not. In future, referees should be trained and made to go through qualification tests long before the World Cup, just like the teams do. All this hullabaloo and finger-pointing should stop. After all, it's only a game. Maturity and a spirit that allows the benefit of doubt should rule in these matters, not fanaticism.
Segun Oyedele, Nigeria/South Africa

I can perhaps understand that it's hard for refs and lines people to get everything right, what with the split-second decisions they have to make.

However, the ref in the Korea v Spain game has no excuse for failing to notice how far Korean keeper Lee Woon-Jae was from his line - a couple of yards at least - when Joaquin took the penalty that was saved. The ref was right there and I still can't believe Joaquin didn't get another go, especially given the importance of the kick.
Adam, Australia

Why is everybody blaming Fifa? Most of the errors have been made by asst referees not some organisation. They are all individual errors. Most of the dubious offside calls were really close, and it must be remembered that we are enjoying the benefit of slow motion replays. The refs have to make instant decisions.

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In future, referees should be trained and made to go through qualification tests long before the World Cup
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Segun Oyedele, Nigeria/South Africa
I am disappointed in the Asia versus Europe talk, the conspiracy theory is rubbish. Korea have deserved their results from hard endeavour.
John Barrett, New Zealand

Stop being so immature guys! Just face the facts, the game was played, and sadly I must say, Korea was the better team.
Flavio, Italy

Disgusting. For a huge competition as this to have such poor refereeing is unacceptable, especially when the countries that have been hard done by these poor decisions have to wait another four years to try once more. I firmly think Fifa has to introduce the video replay, like in cricket. Especially in big competitions it is necessary, and it doesn't slow the game down too much.
Collin, South Africa

Re: Possible penalty kick for USA v Germany.Having seen replays, I have no doubt of the correctness of the referee's decision. There was NO arm movement to the ball. The arm remained totally to the side of the player. The only thing unusual in this incident is the fact that it occurred on the opponents goal line and the contact potentially saved a goal. Ball to arm contact should not be called in ANY position on the field particularly with the arm position to the side of the body. I agree 100% with the non-call.
Robert, USA

You forgot to mention the South Korea - Portugal fiasco. Even if one accepts that Joao Pinto deserved a red for his first half foul (it was in my view a hard challenge but a yellow would have sufficed), the second red was an atrocity. South Korea's subsequent matches with Italy and Spain merely reinforced, for reasons which one can only speculate, the referees' clear handicapping system and intent to carry this team into the latter stages of the tournament.

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I am disappointed in the Asia versus Europe talk, the conspiracy theory is rubbish
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John Barrett, New Zealand
South Korea are not good enough to have made the second round of the World Cup, probably would not have qualified were they not co-hosts and, all things being equal, will likely go to the final. A disgraceful chapter for the world's premier sporting event! I never thought I would say this but "Let's go Germany"!
Andy, Canada

Absolutely despicable. Totti should never have been sent off. Tomassi's goal was never offside. Figo was man-handled against Korea. Spain were clear winners with that Morientes' header. Ronaldinho should only have got a yellow against England. If Korea beat Germany under dubious circumstances, they'll win the title. Again no thanks to the ref. The referee is also at a disadvantage when the assistant slips up or deliberately favours the home team on offsides and ball crossing the line. Anyway, this World Cup has been a shameful spectacle.
Koshy Philip, Singapore

I agree the Spain goal was one of the worst, but what about the Korean kicking the Italian defender in the head!,(79th minute of the game, watch the tape)within a few yards of the on looking referee, and no call. Truly astounding!
Dave Summers, Vancouver Canada

Referee Hugh Dallas is a shining example of the poor standard of referees in this tournament. Not only was he constantly fooled by the German trait of falling down as soon as an opposing player is within touching distance but is also guilty of one of the poorest decisions of the whole tournament, the hand-ball on the goal-line. He then goes on to defend that decision, saying it was not deliberate. How does he know? What makes these decisions even more unforgivable is the fact they were given against probably one of the least cynical teams in the tournament.
Mick Mooney, England

Refereeing decisions are a part of the game and they can go either way, though Korea have been lucky so far. Totti was sent off because the Italians have created a reputation for themselves as a side who dive, and they now have to live with that. Until the ultra-conservatives at the top will agree to introduce replays there is no point in moaning.
Nick, England

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The referee is also at a disadvantage when the assistant slips up or deliberately favours the home team on offsides and ball crossing the line
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Koshy Philip, Singapore
Amateur footballers don't make it to the World Cup, only the proven elite. The same should hold true for match officials. Just remember that like players, even the best can make glaring mistakes - Sukur missed an open goal from six yards, the linesman's equivalent of flagging a ball on the line. Fifa must pick only the best officials for its show-piece tournament. But as the world-wide cricketing community has seen, corruption in unlikely quarters can be a very real presence in international sport. It is therefore also incumbent upon Fifa to do all it can to distinguish between human-error and favouritism in the officiating of international football.

Allowing the use of technology to verify tight decisions gives referees and their 'assistants' the chance to show themselves to be unbiased. This approach in cricket and rugby has shown just how much is missed at normal speed and from one angle but can be accounted for with technology. As match officials are judged against these camera angles and low-speed replays, Fifa should give them access to this technology. This would enable match officials, and in light of present allegations also Fifa itself, to be judged on a more even and revealing playing field.
Dan Pringle, New Zealand

No one country has a monopoly on soccer excellence. I do admit the problem of unfortunate errors is real and present. But it requires maturity and learning to correct these problems. The first step should be an admission by the so-called "elite" in the soccer world that there is a great levelling in the field now. It is no longer a given that you win games because you are a certain country. You win games because you impose your mastery of technique and skill on the game. Don't blame a referee for your inability to do that. Please play by the rules too!
Patrick Gibson, U.S.A

Appalling refereeing in the Spanish- Korea game. The result was a travesty of justice and makes the whole competition a farce.
Stephen Phillips, Wales

In view of the fact that there are large screens situated inside the World Cup venues,showing replays of each incident,everybody except the match officials have the opportunity of a second opinion. Surely it is now time to give the officials that same opportunity given the number of glaring errors so far,notably in the Spain/Korea match.
Mark Gerrard, England

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The referees in this tournament have been absolutely appalling
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Laura, England
The referees in this tournament have been absolutely appalling. The amount of times the 'assistant referee' has waved his flag for offside is unbelievable (and unbearable). There have also been many wrong 'disallowed goal' decisions. During the group stages, it wasn't much of a problem, but from the second round onwards it has just got worse. Something must be done.
Laura, England

Given the current general poor standard of refereeing in the tournament why can FIFA not state now that the referee for the final will be Collina and at least ensure that the top match has the top referee.
Nev, England

Totti was diving and blatantly trying to delude the referee throughout the match. A bad call was just desserts.

Mexico are perhaps dirtiest team in the world. They deserve more calls to go against them.

The US had one questionable call go their way the entire tournament. The Germans got their goal on a bad call and many other similarly dangerous free kicks on bad calls.
Sean, USA

There has been simply too many cases of assistant referees calling offside in cases where the offensive players were not offside when the ball was struck. Either these refs don't know the rules very well, or more likely, they don't know how to look for offside.
Hans Muller, USA

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One solution is to allow each coach two and only two appeals to video evidence
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Prem,Brit in Italy
The authorities are against the use of technology because it breaks up the flow of play. But time is wasted anyway with complaints and nerves are frayed on all sides. One solution is to allow each coach two and only two appeals to video evidence during a match.

The official can be informed by ear-set of the decision by an arbitration panel watching the replay. It wouldn't waste any more time than a substitution and would calm everyone down.
Prem,Brit in Italy

We don't feel we deserve to reach the semi-finals, not because our team is not good enough but because of Italy's childish blame over referees. I know there were mistakes, but Europeans blow up the excitement of the World Cup. I just hope we don't win next time. I don't want to hear German whining!
Sungjae,Korea

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The Spanish should have clearly been two goals up before full time
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Julie,England
The standard of refereeing is disappointing. After seeing South Korea beat Italy, I felt that there were many bad decisions against the Italians but was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Yesterday's Spain v South Korean match again showed bad decisions. The Spanish should have clearly been two goals up before full time and progressed to the semi-finals.
Julie,England

In the case of Italy v South Korea Vieri must have been involved in the "conspiracy" after missing those chances. As far as the Spanish match is concerned that linesman should never be allowed near a football field again. Imagine those decisions going against your team. I think the Spanish players showed remarkable restraint not walking off the pitch after the second goal.
Graham, UK

Newspapers and broadcaster have spoiled the World Cup. Have you seen the red card on Rivaldinho or Mexico's disallowed goal? Italy and Spain's negative broadcasting has led people to complain.
Y.J.Kim, Korea

The World Cup is supposed to be the place where the best teams compete with each other. I think it would be only natural that only the best referees should be there as well. But because of FIFA's policies the nationality of the officials is more important then his ability.
Filip,Belgium

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We must adopt a camera system, it takes seconds and most incidents are replayed over the screens in the stadiums. It's what the public and the players want.
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Daniel Law, England

Absolutely not! I don't think FIFA should review the referee's decision.

However, I do suggest FIFA should consider adopting high-tech assistance like video clip reviews at all the matches.

As a matter of fact, quite a lot of Koreans are admitting that there were a couple of dubious refereeing decisions during the match, but I don't think they dictated the outcome.
Jo, Younghee,South Korea

We have always had poor refereeing decisions, it just appears more prominent when a team has spent four years qualifying for a major competition and they finally are beaten by the referee.

We must adopt a camera system, it takes seconds and most incidents are replayed over the screens in the stadiums. It's what the public and the players want.
Daniel Law, England

Yes, I am a bit disappointed with refereeing. But human errors are inevitable. If the referees had been in favour of the European teams, the media would not have created such hysteria.
Ugyen Thinley, Bhutan

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I invite all the moralists of the discussion to think how they would feel if what happened to Italy and Spain happened to their team
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Fabrizio, Italy

The level of the European team's game was not better than Korea's. Italy and Spain did not have their goals disallowed by referees, they kicked the ball after referees blew the whistle and the Korean team stopped playing.
Sang, Korea

I invite all the moralists of the discussion to think how they would feel if what happened to Italy and Spain happened to their team
Fabrizio, Italy

FIFA has responsibility and could and should exercise its authority.

After it became clear that the Spanish goal in the golden goal period should have stood, the result should have been reversed - South Korea couldn't have equalized by the rules, so that unusually a refereeing error could have been corrected.
Steven, USA

When you have people like Rivaldo falling at the touch of a feather, the referees should be harsh in their decisions, after all, this is the World Cup.
Andy, England

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The linesmen in this competition have been absolutely apalling!
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Kristen,UK

The policy of FIFA to select referees from a wide range of countries does not select the best officials for the most important competition in the world. The best officials should be selected and countries which cannot comply should be aided to raise the standard of their officials.
Brian Bates, Bolivia

I am shocked, disgusted and devastated at the way this World Cup has turned out.

The linesmen in this competition have been absolutely apalling!

Italy were robbed, USA were robbed and it was a clear hand ball by the German player, and the linesman, whose job it is to pick up these sort of things missed it altogether.
Kristen,UK

How should referees decisions be judged? Surely, not on TV evidence. We have the luxury of benefiting from replays, slowed down and repeated several times; the officials have a split second to make these decisions. I applaud the officials for doing a fine job, and to those who criticize - try being an official in that kind of heat and doing a better job!
Chris, England

It is good news that Fifa have finally woken up to the need to have qualified referees and not to select officials based on their countries. What do you say to the Spanish team, however, who were denied their place in the semi finals as a result of lamentable calls by incompetent linesmen?
Eder,Brasil

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The refereeing in this World Cup has been anything but good. I am still at a loss as to how Spain lost out to Korea
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Eek, UK
I have a friend from the USA who I'm trying to convert to football. I will not show him the matches from this World Cup, he could misunderstand the rules!
Dino, Italy

It's very sad but true. The referee was wrong, and Spain lost two great chances to win the game. Condolences to Spain - Sorry. I hope the game does not destroy the relationship between South Korea and Spain. Eddy Park, S Korea

FIFA are guilty of bringing the game into disrepute - it is fast becoming a joke. There is no need for this, when now, in just seconds, one can easily rectify the human error of injustice with modern technology.

Players should be penalised even after the game for shirt pulling, dives etc. Also players wrongly red carded should have their case assessed on the spot, as in cases like Totti.
Charles Attard,Australia

The refereeing in this World Cup has been anything but good. I am still at a loss as to how Spain lost out to Korea despite having two legitimate goals. There was just no need for a penalty shoot out because Spain scored a clear golden goal that was disallowed. The joy of seeing an Asian team like Korea make the semi final has been tarnished.

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I thought that the quality of refereeing during this World Cup was better and more consistent than before
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John Stunnenberg, Fiji
The Italians were complacent against the Koreans but that was certainly not the case with the Spaniards. Spain deserve to be in the semis and not Korea; they would be if not for blatant errors by the incompetent referee. Fifa must do something about the terrible officiating in this World Cup and take steps to ensure that this doesn't happen again in the future. Eek, US

There have been irregularities in the standard of refereeing in the tournament. However, these are the same type of human shortcomings by referees that we witness regularly on our TV screens in Serie A matches in Italy, the Portuguese league, the Premier League in England and elsewhere worldwide.

The problem is that professional players are guilty of trying to dupe referees through dirty tricks in the hope of winning games.
Omari Mohammed Ismail,Sweden

I am sick and tired of reading how poor the referees have been.It is time for Spain and Italy to grow up and accept the fact that they might not be superior in Football anymore. I thought that the quality of refereeing during this World Cup was better and more consistent than before.

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Blatter and the entire executive Fifa body should resign immediately. This has been the most disgusting World Cup in 30 years
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Robert Manny, Canada
I have a solution though - do away with the off side rule..For years now I have watched matches on TV where games have been lost and won because of wrongly judged off sides. If Fifa did away with the rule, we would see more goals and fewer interruptions in play.
John Stunnenberg, Fiji

Germany should refuse to play the semi-final. This World Cup should be called off and Blatter and the entire executive Fifa body should resign immediately. This has been the most disgusting World Cup in 30 years.

I will never watch football again until the current Fifa body are gone. All values of the Western world have been badly disregarded. The west must punish Fifa and show the World that we do indeed have morals. That is why Germany must show solidarity to Spain and Italy and refuse to play the semi-final.
Robert Manny, Canada

It is high time that fifa should consider introducing television replays to make decisions.
March Perera,Sri Lanka

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We have the technology to avoid most if not all of these terrible decisions
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Patrick Tan, Hong Kong

I was interested to read the comments of Oliver Kahn, the German captain, on the dubious referring decisions in this World Cup. He said that this was normal - and was just home advantage. Presumably he was thinking about the where the next World Cup is being held - Germany.

But if I was Oliver Kahn I'd be practising saving penalties right now. Having watched both Italy and Spain play Korea, it is clearly not easy for anyone to score against Korea in normal time and have the goal stand.
Jeremy Kingsley,Kuwait

Pele, Maradona, Beckenbauer, and even the corrupt Blatter think the refereeing is terrible in this World Cup. The referee from the Spain Korea match was Egyptian, and the linesmen from Trinidad & Tobago and Uganda. It is very obvious these states do not have top class leagues are referees - this must be addressed.

Fifa are right in saying referees are human and prone to errors. But in this day and age we have the technology to avoid most if not all of these terrible decisions. Instant replays are the only way forward. For anyone who says that destroys the credibility of the referee, may I ask what credibility you are talking about?
Patrick Tan, Hong Kong

This World Cup has been a disgrace to the sport. The responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of the players. Never has a World Cup seen so much play acting by the players, on top of this when the players get into the penalty area it's 'hold on to you opponents shirt for dear life' time.

How can anyone expect the referees to be able to call every decision correctly in these conditions? The problem is not with the standard of refereeing but with the spirit and morals of the national teams that play it. Wrong decisions are a symptom of the disease. Fifa should treat the disease itself and not just the symptoms.
Jukka Väänänen, Finland

I think everybody would agree that the officials during the first round were excellent. However, the knock out stages have been a different story. There have been a number of very bad decisions, unfortunately for the game the worst have come against the teams playing South Korea; I hope this is just a coincidence.

The referees and linesmen should be the best in the world from the best leagues in the world. The linesman all seem to come from Outer Mongolia and Timbuktu which doesn't fill me with confidence. Fifa please put Collina in charge of the final!
Mark, UK

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If the Spain and Italian teams are looking for some one to criticise, they should look in the mirror
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Jay, USA

Italy should stop their whining just because they lost. It wasn't their time to get through and they should accept their fate. The referee was fair, I watched the game and Italy played dirty throughout, pushing and shoving. Korea deserved to win, they played an excellent game. It was their determination that brought them back from possible destruction. Well done Korea.
Debbie Mortimore,England

The refs are definitely not the ones to blame. They refereed the game fair enough, and even if there were some mistakes, they're only human! If the Spain and Italian teams are looking for some one to criticise, they should look in the mirror.
Jay, USA

This World Cup should be declared null and void. The competition has lost all credibility following the scandals involving South Korea. I am an English fan so this is not sour grapes but I feel that there must be an enquiry to rule out the ugly possibility of corruption in at least these two matches.

Poor old South Korea, who have played good football, have been denied the prestige that they deserve because no one can take their place in the semi-finals seriously under these circumstances.
Robbie, UK


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