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The ball crossed the line! English youth footballers lose semi-final due to ref blunder

Youth team from Camden knocked out in Paris after penalty injustice

12 July, 2018 — By Tom Foot

The ball goes in but the ref says it’s a miss

ENGLAND have been knocked out of the semi-final of a major football tournament after a refereeing scandal.

No, it wasn’t just Gareth Southgate’s team that came away devastated after a crucial game on a foreign field this week.

Young hearts from Camden were broken in the most controversial circumstances at the World Paris Games on Sunday, a prestigious tournament which sees the best youth teams from across the globe compete in Paris.

Camden Elite, a team of under-11s which plays at Market Road football pitch, were told a crucial penalty in their shootout had come back off the post – when video evidence showed it had gone into the goal and come back out of the net.

Footage shows the penalty was scored but organisers refused to look at the video

Tournament officials flatly refused to look at footage showing the ball going over the line, which can be seen on the New Journal website.

The Talents of Football, a team which plays in a Dutch youth league, celebrated as the ‘miss’ meant they had won a place in the final. The blunder ruined the youngsters’ trip to France and led to angry exchanges with organisers, who are refusing to take responsibility for the mistake.

Camden Elite in Paris this week for the World Paris Games

Camden Elite manager Sebastian Eurico said: “There were tears. The kids were crying. The parents were crying. I lost my voice I was shouting so much. We had to spend £100 on ice creams afterwards just to cheer everyone up.”

Parents and team staff had called for officials to “go to VAR” – just like the video assistance used in the professional World Cup football finals in Russia. A parent had filmed the penalty shootout on their phone. The film clearly shows the ball crossing the line.

Mr Eurico, 24, a former pupil at Haverstock School, added: “Of course, people make mistakes. I can accept that during a match, it’s hectic you know. But during a penalty shootout? When you just have to look at the goal to see if it goes in? And there was a fourth official. I just thought that if the referee was not sure then they should have looked at it. You can see on the film. It’s so obvious it goes in, but they wouldn’t look at it.”

The team were so furious they left without playing the play-off for third and fourth places.

Mr Eurico said he had not heard of youth league referees consulting phone footage before, but that Sunday’s match “would not have been a bad time to start”. Camden Elite had beaten the academy team from French league giants Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 earlier in the tournament. The team had travelled on Eurostar for the tournament, where the entrance fee cost £1,500, with families meeting their own expenses.

In the team on Sunday was Jerome Mooney, whose younger brother, Troy, 3, has severe cerebral palsy. His family raised tens of thousands of pounds for an operation unavailable on the NHS that has allowed him to walk independently for the first time. Last year, Camden Elite held a tournament at Market Road to raise money for Troy. His mum Victoria said: “It is a total shame – the boys were gutted.”

A response from one of the organisers apologised to the manager for the “clear referee mistake”. But it did not accept responsibility or entertain criticism of the tournament’s management or standards, saying that there had been no need for bad-tempered behaviour.

The response added: “I think it was just a mistake by a human being, like all human beings at some point have made a wrong call… We see mistakes at all the games, even with the video assist. Thousands of players from around the world take part in the youth world tournament each year in Paris. It was set up after the European Championships in France in 2016 “to help young girls and boys to live their dreams through sports”.


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