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Marrufo to miss match for accepting gift jersey (updated)

Jair Marrufo 1 ( 

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MLS referee Jair Marrufo will not officiate an MLS match this weekend as punishment for his handling of the Cuauhtemoc Blanco gift jersey situation, the Columbus Dispatch is reporting.

Marrufo, the 2008 MLS referee of the year, received a signed jersey from Blanco after the Chicago Fire-Columbus Crew match, a move that has called into question Marrufo's impartiality and raised some doubts about Marrufo's handling of the Crew-Fire match, which ended in a 2-2 tie and saw Marrufo issue a red card to Crew defender Gino Padula for a foul on Blanco.

"(Marrufo) was informed his actions were unacceptable," U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe told the Dispatch. "He agreed he made an error in judgment in accepting the jersey after the match. He's not being suspended. (Pulling him off a game) is a chance for him to clear his head a little bit."

The decision to have Marrufo sit this weekend was made by U.S. Soccer officials, which oversee MLS referees. There is no word yet on the Columbus Crew's appeal of Padula's red card.

Buethe clarified one quote attributed to him in the story regarding the possibility of such actions leading to a suspension.

"It's not as if an incident like this would never cause a suspension," Buethe said, pointing out that, depending on the circumstances, a referee could indeed be suspended for accepting a gift from a player.

What do you think of the decision to have Marrufo miss a match? Is that fair enough punishment? Did Marrufo deserve a suspension? Were you hoping he would be fired, or was Jersey-Gate much ado about nothing?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Considering how bad MLS officiating is and how people suspect corruption in the ranks anyway, a one game suspension for taking gifts is just confirming people’s viewpoints.

  2. Had this happened in MLB, both the player and the ref would be at risk of being declared “permanently ineligible”.

    In MLS, it’s swept under the rug.

  3. Fire should have been relegated to the USL.

    Posted by: josh | May 01, 2009 at 03:36 AM

    Please. Enough of the relation talk already–not gonna happen. Never. Ever.

    The last part was ok, though…

  4. Just goes to show the US Soccer is just as corrupt as the Italians.

    Fire should have been relegated to the USL and Blanco ban for life.

  5. That’s bull…If this happened in the NBA it’s be huge. The ref would probably be banned for life, and in MLS we give him a game? Small time personified…He should have gotten banned atleast the rest of the season.

  6. Unbelievable! Gifts and bribes happen all the time in this game, but when someone gets caught, the punishments should be severe. Imagine if this happened after the Man United game this past weekend with the completely botched penalty call against Tottenham. A one game suspension? Please!

  7. If I was running US Soccer. Marrufo would be suspended for at least five matches without pay & I would take the Red Card away from Padula.

    You want to show that there is no match fixing scandles and you won’t tolerate it at all. I’m sorry to say, but the USSF dropped the ball on this one. To take him off for this weekend just to “Cleaer his head” is absolutly absurd.

    Either throw the book at him or just assume it never happened. IF MLS was willing to severly punish Conway & Parke on their mistake, then US Soccer should have done the same to Marrufo. Referee’s are held to a higher standard and shouldn’t be given a chance for a helping hand when it comes to stuff like this.

  8. There has been a steady decline in Refing
    over the last 20 years. The hands/ elbows to the face and push and hack from behind is no longer called. If the Refing association wants to turn the sport into a hack and wrestling match then move and turn your resumes over to WWF otherwise it destroys the Beautiful Game.


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