Carlos Simon Eugenio was appointed the referee for Saturday’s contest between England and USA in their opening Group C match in Rustenburg, South Africa. The Brazilian referee has caused controversy with some of his decisions in past seasons and was suspended last season from the national federation, amid accusations of bribery and incompetence.
The 44-year old journalist came under fire some 12 months ago when he sent off Flamenco striker Diego Tardelli for diving, although the striker appeared to have been fouled in a crucial match against Cruzeiro. Flamengo’s subsequent loss to their fierce rivals Cruzeiro cost them their place in the following season’s Copa Liberatadores. Flamengo were so furious at the official that they sent a DVD to FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke campaigning for Simon’s removal from the FIFA List of Referees for the 2010 World Cup.
In another incident, Simon disallowed a Palmeiras goal scored by Obina, judging the scorer to have fouled an opponent in the build-up. The incident lead to Palmeiras losing 1-0 to Fluminense. The Palmeiras president, Luiz Gonzaga Belluzzo appalled at the referee’s performance described him as a “a crook, a scoundrel … just a shameless bastard” at the time. “He must be in someone’s pocket. If I met him in the street, I would slap him. What he did was unbelievable and he was helping Fluminense. He should be driven out of football.”,Belluzo added.
Both the incidents eventually lead to Simon being suspended by the Brazilian federation for “a repetition of mistakes committed during the competition”.
Simon recently made the news again when he refereed a domestic match between Vasco and Botafofo with both coaches complaining to the Brazilian authorities about his performance.
The South American official also failed to award a penalty for Brasiliense in the 2002 Brazilian Cup final when even the Corinthians players suggested it should have been given.
In the 2006 World Cup, the Brazilian was once again caught up in controversy when his decision to dismiss Teddy Lucic for two bookable offences against Germany was severely criticized. Simon had brandished the second card after German players waved imaginary cards for what they felt was a tug by Lucic on Miroslav Klose. The controversy was fanned further when German striker Lucas Podolski patted Simon on the back for showing Lucic a second yellow card.
Controversy it seems follows Simon and this might unnerve Fabio Cappello but it is worth noting that the veteran official was chosen by FIFA on the strength of his displays in international matches. He refereed England’s draw against Sweden in the 2002 World Cup and was spot on when he waved away Swedish appeals for a penalty when Rio Ferdinand pushed Marcus Allback, judging that the infringement occurred outside the box.
FIFA however continues to support Simon despite his controversial decisions. This will be a record third World Cup campaign for the experienced official who has been refereeing since 1997.
Article first published as Controversial Simon Carlos to Referee USA’s World Cup Opener on Technorati.