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Sunday, July 11, 2010
ESPNsoccernet: July 12, 1:18 PM UK
Garcia-Aranda happy with officials

Soccernet staff

FIFA's head of refereeing, Jose Maria Garcia-Aranda, said the World Cup had been a success for officials and justified his comments by stating that analysis showed 96% of decisions had been correct.

"It is a big success. We have to say it is not an opinion [but] facts," Garcia-Aranda said. He acknowledged that referees made errors, though in "only a few" matches. "We are not hiding our mistakes or the mistakes on the field of play."

Howard Webb, who referees the final, agreed that mistakes had been made but said they were largely isolated. "There is no point us sitting here as match officials and saying everything is absolutely perfect," he said. "But it's also right to point out that the vast majority of decisions have been very sound and very correct."

However, after what was generally agreed was a good start to the tournament, one of the abiding memories will be a series of important errors.

In the group stage, USA were denied a likely winning goal late in their game against Slovenia, then a Brazil goal against Ivory Coast was allowed despite two handballs by Luis Fabiano in the build-up. In the second round, England were denied a goal when a ball clearly over the line was missed by officials, while Argentina's first goal against Mexico was yards offside. FIFA did not award control of another match to any of the four referees involved in the main controversies.

Garcia-Aranda said all of the errors have been studied carefully, and then put forward an argument the referees' 96% accuracy rate was better that the success rate of players taking penalty kicks. Just nine of 15 penalties awarded during matches have been scored. "I think the refereeing in this tournament has been more than good," he concluded.

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