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Wednesday Kickoff: Infamous referee arrested, Mexican players suspended and more

Byron Moreno

Italian national team fans will never forget Byron Moreno. Now they have more reason to believe their worst fears about the Ecuadorian referee were true.

Moreno was arrested on Tuesday on drug smuggling charges at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport after being found with more than 10 pounds of heroin strapped to his body.

Moreno was the controversial referee who made a series of questionable calls in Italy's World Cup quarterfinal loss to South Korea in 2002, helping the host country pull the upset.

Moreno had long since retiring from refereeing amid allegations of corruption in his native Ecuador.

Here are some other soccer news items to get your Wednesday going:


Carlos Vela and Efrain Juarez were suspended for six months while 11 other Mexican national team players were issued fines for their roles in a hotel party held when the team was together for a friendly against Colombia on Sept. 7th.

New York Red Bulls star Rafael Marquez and Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez were among the players fined for their roles in the party.

The suspensions won't have much of an impact on the national team since they should still rule Vela and Juarez back in time for World Cup qualifying in 2011.


David Beckham has Friday's match vs. New York to think about, but also has a new sex scandal to deal with.

Brazilian club Santos fired manager Dorival Junior for insisting he would suspend Neymar for an outburst at coaches and teammates.

Liverpool midfielder Dirk Kuyt is close to returning from a shoulder injury suffered on Dutch national team duty.

Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs is expected to be sidelined for a short time after x-rays showed he did not break his foot, as first feared.

Portugal hired Paulo Bento to be national team manager after failing to gain permission to have Jose Mourinho coach its next two European qualifying matches.


What do you think of these developments?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Apparently the Brits can’t keep it in their pants. There’s more sex on the English National Team than there is on late night Cinemax.

  2. Seems like a gigantic (yet small in physique) d-bag. I understand that he’s incredibly talented, but bad PR can take its toll on an unproven (at the global level) talent.

  3. Shame on Santos giving in to Neymar…very good player but very spoiled…like robinho..and interestingly they both seem to get along very well…..On another note, an apologies since it is not the correct listing, but I read on Marca that Spain plans on calling Zidane’s son to play on Spain U-16 team. France was not happy about that news. Just a little food for thought…..

  4. If Moreno was accused of corruption before the World Cup, then why did FIFA ever put him on the list of officials? Yes, I know FIFA is corrupt in itself but there weren’t any other South American game officials who could have been chosen?

    Moreno’s arrest should evoke as much call for making referees professionals as much as the Frank Lampard “non-goal” evoked for video reply…if not more.

  5. it is always good to see club ownership capitulate to the whims of an egomaniac 20 year old and fire a coach who is rightfully suspending him to teach him a lesson after an petulant output.

    no matter how skilled that kid is he is such a physical light weight and complaining diver (if what i saw against RBNY is any indication) that any team that signs him looks to be in for more diva attitude than performance.

  6. “Brazilian club Santos fired manager Dorival Junior for insisting he would suspend Neymar for an outburst at coaches and teammates.”

    Really? That’s ridiculous. Neymar is still a young kid and needs this type of discipline for something that disrespectful. The club is just holding Neymar above everyone. Which, he’s got the talent for that, but that’s terrible for team chemistry.

  7. By the way … he looks absolutely wasted in that photo. Great find by the SBI team. Moreno now joins the elite crew of “Mr. Wasted” that my brother and I started.

  8. Overall, I thought Moreno was alright that match, but he made some pretty awful decisions in key situations – so the balance then shifts to “he’s a nutjob”. Can’t really argue that now.

    Quick! If you’re a prostitute, find a footballer and make some allegations!

  9. Heh.

    I actually thought Byron Moreno did a good job in that South Korea v Italy World Cup game. The Italians were at their worst behavior and wound up paying the price. I think I read that Moreno also reffed the US v Portugal game.

    Ives, you need to do some further investigative digging and find out whether Moreno was bringing in the drugs for El Tri’s hotel party or for Beckham’s sex scandal.

    Inquiring minds want to know!

  10. In this picture he looks like he slammed some of that heroin before the match… is he reaching for a card in that pocket, or his works?


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