Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan has recounted how his costly mistake during Northern Ireland’s 2018 FIFA World Cup defeat to Switzerland was a sad and unpleasant moment for him.
Hategan penalised Northern Ireland midfielder Corry Evans for handball but replays showed the ball hit his shoulder.
AC Milan defender Ricardo Rodriguez scored the resulting penalty to condemn Northern Ireland to a 1-0 loss to Switzerland in their first leg clash.
Both teams played out a goalless draw as that error proved really costly especially for Northern Ireland.
Hategan talked about his huge error in a chat with the Romanian media. He said: “It was a sad and unpleasant moment for me, sad because I made that mistake.”
World football’s governing body, FIFA, has released the list of 36 match referees to take charge of games at this summer’s World Cup in Russia and Hategan was conspicuously absent.
Talking about how the costly decision made him miss out on the list, Hategan said: “Unfortunately I’m not among the 36, but I’ll see if I’m going to be a video referee.”
“Surely it has had a big influence and what happened in the play-off game. It’s not a secret and I’m not hiding behind words.
“In our world, the referees are the same as the goalkeepers – everyone sees the mistake.
“I’ve got over that moment, I’m a strong man. My family were there for me.” he concluded.