FIFA referee chief defends Eriksson’s Champions League performance

FIFA referee chief Jim Boyce has given his backing to Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson after he was criticised for his performance following Manchester City’s Champions League defeat to Barcelona, according to Sky Sports.

Manchester City were beaten 2-0 at home by Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday and City manager Manuel Pellegrini has claimed that the official was not impartial.

The Manchester side had defender Martin Demichelis sent off, followed by the award of a penalty which Lionel Messi stroked home to leave City needing a strong performance in the second leg at Camp Nou.

“It is absolute nonsense to say a referee should not be chosen for an important match because he comes from a smaller country,” said Boyce.

“If the referee has proved himself at the top level it should not matter what country they come from.

“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 and marked on their performances in the World Cup and confederation competitions at a high level.”

Pellegrini claimed that the official was ‘on Barcelona’s side from beginning to end’ and that the 39-year-old was trying to atone for a past mistake he made against the Catalan side.

“I read the remarks that were made by the Manchester City manager. I saw the game and my own personal opinion is that I thought the referee had a good game,” added Boyce.

“He is a very experienced referee who has been chosen for the World Cup because of excellent reports of his performances in Europe.”

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