Posted on October 15, 2012
By Michael Lewis
KANSAS CITY, Kansas — Christine Sinclair accepted her $3,500 fine and four-match ban from FIFA on Monday.
In her first public statement since being sanctioned by soccer’s world governing body, the Canadian international said she said was “disappointed’ by the ruling. But Sinclair said that did not regret what she said about referee Christina Pedersen of Norway.
“I just want to be able to move on and as well as allow my team to move on as we prepare for the biggest three years ever in the women’s program’s history,” Sinclair said about the next three years leading up to Canada hosting the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
Sinclair was sanctioned for critical comments she made about officiating after Canada lost to the rival United States in extratime, 4-3, in the Olympic women’s semifinals in Manchester, England on Aug. 6.
She said he did not regret what she said in the mixed zone at Old Trafford that night.
“You just lost your chance . . . for an Olympic gold medal,” Sinclair said in a conference call. “That’s a dream that all of us have. It was a very intense time and I was very emotional and I wouldn’t want to change that.”
Sinclair added later: “I still can’t watch the game against the U>S. It’s still a touchy subject. It was an emotional time and it got the best of me.”
The ban will sideline the star striker for at least the first three games of a tournament in China in January. If Canada doesn’t reach the knockout rounds, the suspension will be extended to the first game of the Cypress Cup in February.
Sinclair felt it wasn’t the end of the world since she and Canada had bigger fish to fry later on down the line. Missing one or the part of another international tournament won’t hurt her preparation for the tournament, but it will give younger players a chance to play.
“Missing a couple of games at the start of 2013, knowing that we have the World Cup coming up and then the following year the Olympics, it’s not the real the biggest deal in a sense,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity for our team. I know John [Herdman, the coach] wants to bring in and maybe try some younger players. There’s no better chance than getting an international game against some of the best teams in the world.”
The usually soft-spoken Sinclair went off about the officiating in the mixed zone at Old Trafford in Manchester.
After the game in Manchester, England, one Canadian player had a verbal confrontation with Pedersen, TropiGol.com reported on Aug. 7. It was not known if it was Sinclair.
The player, who was not identified, said a derogatory remark to Pedersen, who had called two controversial decisions against the Canadians, which led to the U.S.’s third and equalizing goal, the source said.
Sinclair, a soft-spoken person whose hat-trick sparked Canada, was caustic in her post-game comments about referee Christina Pedersen of Norway in the mixed zone.
“We feel like we didn’t lose,” she said. “We feel like it was taken from us. It’s a shame in a game like that, which is so important that the ref decided the result before the game started.”
On Monday, Sinclair admitted she did not believe that Pedersen had decided the game beforehand.
“No, I do not believe ultimately that she went into the match hoping the U.S. would win,” she said before chuckling.
Sinclair wasn’t the only member of the Canadian contingent that was critical of Pedersen of Norway. Teammate Melissa Tancredi and Herdman also ripped the game official.
Asked why she was sanctioned and others weren’t, Sinclair replied, “I can’t really comment on why my comments were the basis for all of this. I don’t know all the details that go into this process. At this point all i can really do is accept it and move on.”
One Canadian player had a verbal confrontation with Pedersen in the Old Trafford tunnel, TropiGol.com reported on Aug. 7. It was not known if it was Sinclair.
The player, who has not been identified, said a derogatory remark to Pedersen, who had called two controversial decisions against the Canadians, which led to the U.S.’s third and equalizing goal, the source said.
There were a limited amount of questions asked during the conference call and TropiGol.com could not ask any.
Afterwards the conference call, a Canada Soccer Association spokesman was asked via email if Sinclair was the player who confronted Pedersen, which would explain the sanctions.
“We have no knowledge of such an event, so I would say no, that’s not the case,” the spokesperson said.
Photo: Christine Sinclair: “You just lost your chance . . . for an Olympic gold medal. That’s a dream that all of us have. It was a very intense time and I was very emotional and I wouldn’t want to change that.” Scott Bales/YCJ
Categories: Canada, North America, Olympic Qualifying
Tags: 2012 London Olympics, Canada Soccer Association, Christine Sinclair, John Herdman, Melissa Tancredi