Russian ref may be blackballed by Blatter

June 25, 2006

NUREMBERG, June 25 (Reuters) - FIFA President Sepp Blatter said the referee could have been yellow-carded himself after sending off four players and handing out bookings to eight others in Portugal's World Cup 1-0 win over the Netherlands.

Each team finished with nine men after Russian referee Valentin Ivanov took centre stage in Sunday's second-round match, creating a World Cup finals record for red cards in one match.

'I consider that today the referee was not at the same level as the participants, the players. There could have been a yellow card for the referee,' Blatter told Portugal's SIC television channel.

'This was a game of emotion, with exceptional drama in the last instant, with a deserved winner.

'It was a great show with intervention by the referee that was not consistent and (had) lack of fair play by some players.']