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'A crook and a scoundrel'

The referee who has been selected to take charge of England’s opening World Cup match against the USA has been labelled a ‘crook’ and a ‘scoundrel’ by the president of Brazilian giants Palmeiras, and was suspended by the Brazilian football confederation under a cloud of accusations regarding bribery and plain old uselessness.

Carlos Eugênio Simon so incensed Luiz Gonzaga Belluzzo, president of Palmeiras when Simon disallowed what appeared to be a perfectly good goal in their 1-0 defeat by Fluminense last November, that he publically accused him of being ‘in someone’s pocket’. The authorities sanctioned him then, and later stood him down for the final six weeks of the season.

‘He's a crook, a scoundrel ... just a shameless bastard,’ Belluzzo said 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.’

This is not the first time Simon has annoyed Brazilian football presidents; a year ago Flamengo were so outraged by red card given to their striker Diego Tardelli for diving, after he appeared to be fouled in the box, that they wrote to Jérôme Valcke, the Fifa general secretary, demanding that he be struck from the list of World Cup referees. They even sent an accompanying DVD of his perceived inadequate refereeing, with the opening line of the DVD saying: ‘Please, Fifa, check this out.’

‘The video evidence collected and hereby submitted – attesting the unambiguously inconsistent, unfair and inequitable technical performance of Mr Simon – provides the Fifa referees' committee with a factual account to illustrate the risks of retaining (Simon) in the list of referees for the 2010 World Cup,’ the letter read. ‘Flamengo has done this for the sake of good order and for the good of the game.’ Best keep your eyes peeled for brown envelopes, Fabio.

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