US forward Wambach escapes with warning for ref comments

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 25, 2015 11:27 PM

By Simon Evans

EDMONTON (Reuters) - United States striker Abby Wambach has escaped with nothing more than a warning from FIFA after she said a referee at the women’s World Cup had targeted two of her team mates on the verge of suspension.

Wambach, who later apologised for the comments, said French referee Stephanie Frappart had “purposefully” gone after midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday in the United States’ last 16 win over Colombia.

Rapinoe and Holiday, who had been one yellow card away from suspension, will miss the United States' quarter-final against China on Friday after being booked by Frappart.

"With regard to the comments made by USA player Abby Wambach to media in relation to the match officials ... the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided to issue a warning to the player for infringing art. 57 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code,” a FIFA spokesperson said.

“The chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee took into consideration all the circumstances of the case, including the fact that Abby Wambach took full ownership and apologised for her comments in a timely manner.”

The 35-year-old, who missed a penalty against Colombia, told reporters after the game that she had doubts about the legitimacy of the bookings to Rapinoe and Holiday.

"I don't know if they were yellows," she said. "It seemed like she (Frappart) was purposefully giving those to the players she knew were sitting on yellows."

In her apology, Wambach said: “I am not in the referee's head and that is something I definitely take ownership of and apologise for, because I don't know what the referee is thinking ... she is doing the very best job she can.”

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)