World Cup: FIFA denies American ref asked for Cristiano Ronaldo's shirt

FIFA issued a statement on Thursday denying claims that American referee Mark Geiger asked for a player's jersey during Wednesday's match between Portugal and Morocco.   

Cristiano Ronaldo continued his World Cup tear, scoring the game's only goal in a 1-0 win for Portugal. Speaking after the match to Dutch TV network NOS, Morocco winger Noureddine Amrabat made a scathing accusation that American referee Mark Geiger asked for Ronaldo's shirt at halftime. Amrabat claims he found out about it through Portuguese defender Pepe. 

"What are we talking about? At the World Cup? It's not a circus here," Amrabat said after the match.

FIFA has a clear stance on how referees should behave, and they are confident Geiger acted in a professional manner during the match and that no such thing happened, releasing the following statement:

"It is with regret and disappointment that, following yesterday's Group B game between Portugal and Morocco, FIFA has learnt reports in the media concerning the referee Mark Geiger. It has been claimed that Mr. Geiger asked for the shirt of the captain of Portugal (Ronaldo) during the half-time interval. Mr. Geiger strongly refutes these claims and categorically states that such a request was not made.

"FIFA unequivocally condemns the allegations supposedly made by a member of the Moroccan team. FIFA referees are under clear instructions with regards to their behavior and relationship with the teams at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and it can be confirmed that Geiger has acted in an exemplary and professional manner as an appointed match official."

Pretty cut and dry. Who knows why the player has made such claims, perhaps unhappy with the ref's performance, but that should be the end of that. 

This is Geiger's second World Cup. He worked three games at the last World Cup, including France vs. Nigeria in the round of 16. It's been a pretty eventful tournament for Amrabat, who suffered a concussion in the opening group stage match against Iran and chose to play against Portugal. Morocco was eliminated early from the group stage after losing its first two games.  

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Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Full Bio

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