‘I Awarded Penalty Wrongly During Qualifiers’- This Football Referee Confesses
Romanian referee, Ovidiu Hategan, who awarded a controversial penalty against Northern Ireland during their World Cup play-off defeat by Switzerland has admitted he made a mistake.
Hategan had ruled that Corry Evans blocked a shot with his arm during the first leg.
Replays, however, showed the ball struck the player’s shoulder.
The referee told Romanian media, “It was a sad and unpleasant moment for me, sad because I made that mistake.”
Hategan is among referees selected by FIFA to prosecute the World Cup in Russia later this year.
“Unfortunately, I’m not among the 36, but I’ll see if I’m going to be a video referee,” he added.
“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 added.
Following his decision in the game, Swiss defender Ricardo Rodríguez scored the spot-kick to secure the only goal of the play-off, which ended Northern Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for Russia.