Two officials suspended and VAR transcript revealed over incident involving Leeds United's Raphinha in Brazil's Argentina clash

The South American Football Confederation [CONMEBOL] has suspended officials who failed to punish an elbow on Leeds United winger Raphinha during Brazil's draw with Argentina.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 5:47 pm
FLASH POINT - Leeds United's Raphinha was caught in the mouth with an elbow but match officials in Brazil's game against Argentina did not believe the incident warranted a red card. Lionel Messi is seen in conversation with referee Andrés Cunha. Pic: Getty

A statement released by CONMEBOL today confirms that Nicolás Otamendi had committed violent conduct against the Whites attacker, putting him at risk through the use of an arm.

Neither referee Andrés Cunha nor his VAR Esteban Ostojich saw fit to punish the elbow with a red card, despite replays showing the incident clearly. A transcript of the officials' conversationr eveals that Ostojich felt a yellow card was warranted for the former Manchester City player.

He said: "I consider that the blow here is with the forearm in the face, with medium intensity. Yes, in the face. This seems to me to be a foul, for a yellow card. I don't consider a red card."

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A statement today confirmed that both of the officials had been suspended indefinitely in competitions organised by CONMEBOL.

It read: "The performance of the chief referee Andrés Ismael Cunha Soca Vargas and the Referee VAR Esteban Daniel Ostojich Vega, assigned to the aforementioned game, were technically analyzed by this committee, concluding that they committed serious and manifest errors in the exercise of their functions in the development of the match, specifically in the following situation: - Minute 33: Violent Conduct of Player N°19 Nicolás Hernán Gonzalo Otamendi (ARG) against an opponent putting at risk the physical integrity of the same with the use of the arm in the face.

"As a result, the CONMEBOL Arbitration Committee resolves to suspend the referees indefinitely in the exercise of its functions in competitions organized by CONMEBOL."

Raphinha was left needing stitches for a mouth wound and Brazil head coach Tite was enraged by the officiating of the incident.

"I'm going to take off the mask to talk," he said in his post game press conference.

"I'm going to say what I said in the locker room for arbitration. [Andres] Cunha is an extraordinary referee, his technical quality and perception are very high, a very high disciplinary aspect, but arbitration requires a team effort. Who is in the VAR? It's simply impossible, I'll repeat, it's simply impossible not to see Otamendi's elbow on Raphinha. Would that determine the result? I do not know.

"High level VAR referee cannot work in this way, it is inconceivable. It's not the term I wanted to say, I'm saying this because I'm polite."

According to Globo Jununho Paulista, co-ordinator for the Brazil national side, requested that the Brazilian Football Confederation's acting president Ednaldo Rodriguezs and vice-president Gustavo Feijó petition to have the referee removed from games involving their team.

The 0-0 draw secured passage to the World Cup in 2022 for the Argentine side, with their visitors already there.