It’s definitely not over yet. Now FIFA’s involved in the latest fracas engulfing women’s soccer.
The controversy raging over the U.S.’s 4-3 win over Canada in Monday’s Olympic semifinal has now reached the highest level of the sport. FIFA today released a statement saying it will look into the events that followed the match.
The statement in full:
Following the Olympic women’s semi-final match between Canada and the USA played at Old Trafford on the evening of 6 August, the FIFA disciplinary committee is currently analyzing incidents that occurred after the conclusion of the match. Further information will be provided only after the committee are in possession of all the elements of the case.
The release comes on the heels of contentious post-match comments made by members of the Canadian women’s soccer team regarding the performance of match official Christian Pedersen.
Captain Christine Sinclair was particularly – and uncharacteristically – forthright with her views. “We feel like it was taken from us,” she said. “It’s a shame in a game like that, which is so important, that the ref decided the result before the game started.”
Forward Melissa Tancredi echoed Sinclair’s sentiments. “[Pedersen] could have done a better job. A way better job. This is the semifinals. We’re supposed to be professionals and they should act like one too. I feel robbed. That’s all I can say. I said to her: ‘I hope you can sleep tonight and put on your American jersey because that’s who you played for today.”
Head coach John Herdman has rushed to his players’ defense adding, “People should realize the game just ended and they had a camera shoves in their face. In the heat of the moment things are said. We just lost an emotional semi-final game and then they are asked to stand in front of the cameras. Things happen that both players and referees regret. Things happen, that’s football, we’re moving on.”
So, what exactly does the FIFA investigation entail and what kind of punishment is expected? And how will it affect Thursday’s bronze medal match against France? The details are still murky, but according to Canadian news outlet, there’s good reason to believe Canada will have its full complement of players available for the match.
Per the Toronto Sun, a source with the Canadian Soccer Association does not expect team members to be penalized. Vancouver Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi holds a similar view, according to The Province.
The time frame listed in FIFA’s statement (particularly the ‘Following the Olympics semi-final match…’ bit) likely precludes investigation into Tancredi’s supposed stomp on Carli Lloyd’s head. FIFA set a precedent earlier in the tournament by suspending Colombian player Lady Andrade for punching Abby Wambach in a group stage match.
Herdman’s side will have the chance to add the last word to all this when Canada meets its opponents on Thursday. France handed Canada a 2-0 loss in the final of the annual Cyprus Cup earlier this year.
The sour memories will likely linger, but an Olympic medal could go a long way in aiding the recovery process.