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26 Apr, 2020 19:32

Referee: Maradona could have been SENT OFF for SWEARING while the anthems were being sung before the 1990 World Cup final (VIDEO)

Referee: Maradona could have been SENT OFF for SWEARING while the anthems were being sung before the 1990 World Cup final (VIDEO)

The referee who took charge of the 1990 World Cup final between West Germany and Argentina said he could have sent off Argentinian legend Diego Maradona before a ball had even been kicked in the Italia '90 finale.

Edgardo Codesal, who bossed Argentina's loss to West Germany, has revealed that he is still targeted with vile abuse and was accused by Maradona of being bribed by FIFA, calling the icon "one of the worst people I have ever met."

Maradona was booked by Codesal two minutes after the official awarded West Germany their 85th-minute penalty in Rome, providing the only goal of the game as Argentina's opponents lifted the trophy after Andreas Brehme converted from the spot.

Now Codesal has revealed that he could have punished the mercurial striker before the match had even started, watching Maradona launch into a barrage of swearwords that he believes justified a red card while the anthems of both nations were being played after the teams emerged from the tunnel.

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A video of Maradona singing the anthem on YouTube suggests the Argentina legend was directing his volley of abuse at Italian fans inside the Stadio Olimpico.

At the time, Maradona was nearing the end of a controversial spell at Napoli, whose arch-rivals Roma usually play at the stadium where the final was held.

"I could have dismissed him for swearing during the anthems but I understood and handled the situation," the Uruguayan-Mexican, who has an Argentine grandfather, recalled to Tirando Paredes.

"I saw Maradona do things on the pitch that were worthy of my admiration and my respect. As a player he was the best, but outside he is an unpleasant person – one of the worst I have ever met in my life."

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A bitter Maradona accused Codesal of costing Argentina glory and accused him of being paid by tournament organizers FIFA. Argentina players Pedro Monzon and Gustavo Dezotti were also sent off during the final.

"It hurts me that there are Argentines who still continue to treat me badly," admitted Codesal.

"To this day I receive messages, including ones wishing that my children and grandchildren die of coronavirus so they can see me suffer.

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"I have a great affection for the people. I am sorry that some of them are like this."

Codesal demonstrated a clear memory of the incident in defending his decision to award the decisive late penalty after Argentina's Roberto Sensini fouled Rudi Voller.

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"He went to challenge Voller in the most difficult way," he explained.

"It was almost impossible to avoid contact with his right leg. Then he also made contact with his forearm on his waist.

"There were a couple of similar incidents. They were accidents, and at that time you could only give fouls if there was intent. In those cases, they were involuntary fouls."

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This season's hottest topic on the pitch, video assistant refereeing (VAR), is as much a point of contention for Codesal as it is for many fans and players.

"I am a lover of technology but it must be only for certain situations," he said. "It has to be studied more.

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"VAR is like a meal that was baked quickly and not brought out on time."

Codesal's eventful World Cup might explain why he retired from top-level refereeing shortly after the tournament. Then in his late 30s, he also awarded three penalties in a 3-2 quarter-final win over Cameroon for England earlier in the tournament.

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