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05th Jul 2018

Diego Maradona apologises for comments about England’s win over Colombia

Always a stickler for fair play, Maradona was unhappy at the way the game had been refereed

Simon Lloyd

Diego Maradona has apologised to FIFA for his comments about England’s World Cup last-16 victory over Colombia on Tuesday night

The former Argentina international, always a stickler for fair play throughout his time as a player, had accused referee Mark Geiger of bias towards England.

Maradona also described England’s victory as “monumental theft,” insisting the official owed the people of Colombia an apology.

His rant has since landed him in bother with FIFA, who released a statement to make it absolutely clear they condemned his comments on the matter.

‘FIFA strongly rebukes the criticism of the performance of the match officials which it considers to have been positive in a tough and highly emotional match,’ the statement read.

‘It also considers the additional comments and insinuations made as being entirely inappropriate and completely unfounded.’

Maradona, who FIFA just so happen to have been paying as much as £10,000 per day to attend World Cup games in an ambassadorial role, has now decided to issue an apology.

‘I said a couple of things and, I admit, some of them are unacceptable,’ read his post on Instagram, which featured a picture of him alongside FIFA president, Gianni Infantino.

‘I have absolute respect for the work – which is not easy – that the institution and the referees do,’ he added.

Maradona has made plenty of headlines throughout the tournament in Russia, particularly for his animated support of Argentina during their final group game against Nigeria, where he celebrated Marcos Rojo’s last winner by directing a middle finger gesture at members of the crowd.

Argentina were eliminated by France in the round of 16, leaving the 57-year-old to switch his allegiances to Colombia in time for the game on Tuesday night.

England’s win means they are now set to take on Sweden in the quarter-finals on Saturday. Should they win, they’ll take on the winners of Croatia and Russia for a place in the World Cup final.