South American football governing body CONMEBOL has suspended officials who failed to correctly deal with an incident involving Leeds United winger Raphinha during the recent game between Brazil and Argentina.
The two South American rivals played out a goalless draw in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday. Both know they will be at the 2022 tournament. Nevertheless, it was a characteristically feisty affair.
The main talking point to emerge from the game was an incident involving Brazil’s Raphinha and Argentina’s ex-Manchester City man Nicolas Otamendi.
Replays showed Otamendi swinging an elbow at Raphinha and catching him in the face. The Leeds man drew blood as a result of the clash. But neither the referee nor VAR deemed it worthy of a red card for his opponent.
It has prompted much furore in the Brazilian media. Leeds fans have also been well aware of the situation.
Those who feel aggrieved do so justifiably. Indeed, CONMEBOL have confirmed the incident classed as violent conduct. Therefore, the officials should have sent Otamendi off.
Subsequently, the governing body has suspended the referee and the VAR.
CONMEBOL said: “The performance of the chief referee Andrés Ismael Cunha Soca Vargas and the Referee VAR Esteban Daniel Ostojich Vega, assigned to the aforementioned game, were technically analyzed by this committee, concluding that they committed serious and manifest errors in the exercise of their functions in the development of the match, specifically in the following situation: – Minute 33: Violent Conduct of Player N°19 Nicolás Hernán Gonzalo Otamendi (ARG) against an opponent putting at risk the physical integrity of the same with the use of the arm in the face.
“As a result, the CONMEBOL Arbitration Committee resolves to suspend the referees indefinitely in the exercise of its functions in competitions organized by CONMEBOL.”
Officials’ conversation over Raphinha incident revealed
The transcript of the conversation between Cunha and Ostojich has also been revealed. The VAR told the referee not to consider a red card.
Ostojich said: “I consider that the blow here is with the forearm in the face, with medium intensity. Yes, in the face.
“This seems to me to be a foul, for a yellow card. I don’t consider a red card.”
Raphinha required stitches to his mouth after the impact from Otamendi.
Reports followed that Brazil wanted Cunha removed from their games in future. But CONMEBOL have taken things one step further for the time being.