Saturday, September 21, 2013

21 September 2010 - Maybe There Was Something To That Conspiracy Theory After All

On 21 September 2010, former World Cup referee Byron Moreno was arrested in New York with ten pounds of heroin in his underwear.

Moreno had already become infamous for his performance at the 2002 World Cup when he refereed the Round of 16 meeting between Italy and co-hosts South Korea. The Koreans won the match in part due to several questionable calls that included Moreno's awarding them a controversial penalty, disallowing an Italian goal that would have won the game, and ejecting Francesco Totti with a second yellow card for diving. Afterward, both Totti and Italy manager Giovanni Trapattoni claimed that FIFA had rigged the match to ensure that South Korea reached the quarterfinals as a reward for co-hosting the tournament.

Although FIFA denied any impropriety and took no action against Moreno at that time, they issued a 20-game suspension later that year after he impacted the result in an Ecuadorian match by improperly extending stoppage time, then falsifying the information in his official report. In May 2003, shortly after his return from suspension, he retired.

Then, in 2010, after arriving at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport from Ecuador, he was arrested when authorities found several bags of heroin stuffed down his pants. He pleaded guilty to smuggling charges and received a prison sentence of two and a half years.

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