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Pellegrini claims 'nonsense' - FIFA VP

ESPN staff
February 19, 2014
Pellegrini: Referee was not impartial

FIFA's refereeing chief Jim Boyce has described Manuel Pellegrini's criticism of Swedish official Jonas Eriksson after Manchester City's defeat to Barcelona as "absolute nonsense".

Boyce, a FIFA vice-president from Northern Ireland, hit back at Pellegrini for suggesting UEFA should not have chosen a referee from Sweden for such an important Champions League match as Tuesday's last-16 fixture.

Pellegrini claimed Eriksson, who awarded a penalty against City and sent off Martin Demichelis, had "not been impartial", but Boyce believes Eriksson performed well in Barcelona's 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium.

Eriksson, 39, has been selected by FIFA for the World Cup finals in Brazil, and Boyce, chairman of FIFA's referees committee, told Press Association Sport: "It is absolute nonsense to say a referee should not be chosen for an important match because he comes from a smaller country.

"If the referee has proved himself at the top level it should not matter what country they come from.

"All the referees who have been chosen for the World Cup have been assessed by experienced officials who have been involved at FIFA and UEFA level and marked on their performances in the World Cup and confederation competitions at a high level."

Boyce added: "I read the remarks that were made by the Manchester City manager. I saw the game and my own personal opinion is that I thought the referee had a good game. He is a very experienced referee who has been chosen for the World Cup because of excellent reports of his performances in Europe."

Barcelona's stars also hit back at Pellegrini's claims following the match.

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