RIO DE JANEIRO: Colombia’s Camilo Zuniga has not been punished for the battering which put Brazilian superstar Neymar out of ‘their’ World Cup finals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The disciplinary committee of world federation FIFA has also refused a Brazilian plea to scrap the yellow card awarded to their captain Thiago Silva in the 2-1 quarter-final victory over Los Cafeteros on Friday.
This means that the Paris Saint-Germain central defender must miss the semi-final against Germany in Belo Horizonte after having been shown another yellow card earlier in the finals.
Brazilian fans will be furious with the disciplinary ruling that, since the referee had signalled a foul but had not issued a yellow or red card at the time of the second-half incident, its hands were tied and it was unable “to intervene in such a situation.”
Zuniga had apologised for the nature of the challenge in which his knee struck Neymar in the lower back, causing a cracked vertebra which will take between four and six weeks to heal.
The Colombian defender, who plays for Italian club Napoli, came in for a hail of abuse on social media which included threats to the safety of both himself and his daughter.
Brazil’s 2002 World Cup winner Ronaldo, a member of the local organising committee, was among critics.
He said: “The action was a very violent one. There was an intention to cause some harm. I don’t think it was a normal football play. I do believe it was aggressive.
“I didn’t like the very high knee and that leads me to believe it was a foul with the intention to cause harm. I thought it was a highly violent and unlawful move by the Colombia player. We are fearful and sad for the loss of our player.’
Messages of sympathy and encouragement for Neymar were headed by one from state President Dilma Rousseff.
However team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is thought to consider the semi-final absence of Thiago Silva from the heart of defence as equally damaging for Brazil’s prospects against Germany.
First and foremost, the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee wishes to state that he deeply regrets the incident and the serious consequences on Neymar’s health.
After an analysis of the matter and the extensive submission and documentation received from the CBF, the chairman came to the conclusion that the FIFA Disciplinary Committee cannot consider this matter in light of the conditions outlined in the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC) for the Disciplinary Committee to be able to intervene in such a situation.
In particular, in this specific case, no retrospective action can be taken by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, since the incident involving the Colombian player Juan Camilo Zuniga Mosquera did not escape the match officials’ attention, which is the first of two cumulative and necessary conditions for art. 77 a) of the FDC to be applied.
Meanwhile art. 77 b) of the FDC, which entitles the Disciplinary Committee to rectify obvious errors in the referee’s disciplinary decisions, equally cannot be applied in this case because neither a yellow card nor a red card was shown by the referee to the player Juan Camilo Zuniga Mosquera.
Indeed, art. 77 b) of the FDC stipulates that the Disciplinary Committee may rectify obvious errors in the referee’s disciplinary decisions, which is only possible in the case of mistaken identity when a referee shows a yellow or red card to the wrong player.
It is important to note that the conditions by which the FIFA Disciplinary Committee can intervene in any incident have to be considered independently of the consequences of that incident, such as an unfortunate injury suffered by a player.
Finally, as a general remark, FIFA and the FIFA Disciplinary Committee regret any incidents occurring on the pitch that in particular have a negative impact on the health of players.
We wish Neymar a prompt and complete recovery as we wish the same for all players who have sadly been ruled out of the World Cup through injury.
With regard to CBF’s request for the cancellation of the caution shown to the player Thiago Emiliano da Silva during the match played against Colombia, the chairman came to the conclusion that the FIFA Disciplinary Committee cannot consider the matter given the fact that there is no legal basis entitling it to grant such request.