World football’s governing body, FIFA, has debunked the shirt request allegation levelled against American referee Mark Geiger.
Geiger, 43, was the man at the centre as Portugal beat Morocco 1-0 in a Group B clash at Russia 2018 courtesy Cristiano Ronaldo’s 4th minute header on Wednesday afternoon.
The result proved to be devastating for the North Africans who became the first team to be eliminated at the ongoing World Cup tournament.
After the game, Morocco forward Nordin Amrabat accused Mark Geiger of biased officiating.
According to the Levante star, Portuguese defender Pepe told him that the former school teacher requested for the shirt of Cristiano Ronaldo at halftime.
Amrabat made this known in his interview with Dutch TV as he said: “I do not know what he (Geiger) is used to, but he was very impressed by Cristiano Ronaldo, and I hear from Pepe that he asked in the first half if he should have his shirt.”
“What are we talking about? At the World Cup? It’s not a circus here.” He added.
In the bid to shut down Amrabat’s claims, FIFA released a statement to address the allegation.
The full FIFA statement reads: “It is with regret and disappointment that, following Wednesday’s Group B game between Portugal and Morocco, FIFA has learnt of reports in the media concerning referee Mark Geiger.
“It has been claimed that Mr Geiger asked for the shirt of the captain of Portugal during the half-time interval. Mr Geiger strongly refutes these claims and categorically states 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 regard to their behaviour and relationship with the teams at the World Cup and it can be confirmed that Mr Geiger has acted in an exemplary and professional manner as an appointed match official.
“FIFA would like to remind teams of their duty to respect all principles of fair play.” the statement concluded.