Mark Smith

FIFA chief hits back at Pellegrini

Created on 21 Feb., 2014 4:35 PM GMT

FIFA Vice President Jim Boyce has dismissed Manuel Pellegrini's criticism of Swedish official Jonas Eriksson as 'absolute nonsense'.

The Manchester City boss described Eriksson's performance as 'non-impartial' after his display in Tuesday's the Champions League last 16 clash with Barcelona at the Etihad.

Pellegrini went on to blame Eriksson's nationality as a reason for his poor performance and decisions that he felt went against City.

However Boyce, talking to the Metro, hit back by saying: "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."

Eriksson has been selected for the World Cup finals in Brazil and Boyce added: "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."

Pellegrini, who is usually calm and collective, fumed after Tuesday's game: "It was not as good idea to put a referee from Sweden in charge of such an important match.

"That kind of game needs a referee with more experience."

But evidently Boyce backed Eriksson and his performance from the game: "I saw the game and my personal opinion is the referee had a good game.

"He is a very experienced referee who has been chosen for the World Cup because of excellent reports on his performances."

UEFA is likely to take a dim view on Pellegrini's comments as in 2011 they banned Jose Mourinho for five games, which was eventually reduced to three, for a similar rant.

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