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Soccer-Chile's referee concerns an insult to Brazil - Federation

Reuters

By Karolos Grohmann

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil, June 27 (Reuters) - Chile's concerns over the impartiality of the referee for their World Cup round of 16 game against Brazil on Saturday are an insult to the people of the host nation, Brazil's Football Federation said on Friday.

Chile players were repeatedly asked this week whether they were concerned about the referee and his ability to be impartial in a game that could potentially see the hosts eliminated from a tournament they are favoured to win.

At the time the referee's name had not yet been announced. England's Howard Webb, among the most experienced referees who also officiated the 2010 World Cup final, has since been picked for the game in Belo Horizonte.

"We are going to talk about this only once. The press and Chile have insisted on this issue. This is immature in this moment in football," federation spokesman Rodrigo Paiva told reporters. "This kind of pressure is even ridiculous.

"Talking about this is not just a lack of respect towards (world soccer's governing body) FIFA or the referee alone or the Brazilian selecao (team) or to the people who work here in a very serious manner with a 100 years of football history, a winning history.

"We think that this is a lack of respect for the Brazilian people. Brazil does not need the help of the referee to win a match," said Paiva.

Chile striker Alexis Sanchez said on Thursday that the Chileans were indeed concerned about the referee but did not elaborate. Team mate Arturo Vidal has also touched on the issue saying he hoped there would be "balanced" refereeing on Saturday. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Justin Palmer)

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