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FIFA plays waiting game; no Canadian suspensions ahead of bronze-medal match

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FIFA said Wednesday that its investigation into the Canadian women’s national team is ongoing, but that it will not take any action before Thursday’s Olympic bronze medal match with France.

“In view of the elements currently at its disposal, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee considers that further investigation will be needed regarding incidents that occurred after the conclusion of the match between Canada and the USA on 6 August at Old Trafford,” read a press statement from FIFA. “The FIFA Disciplinary Committee is therefore not in a position to take any decision at present. Further information will be provided in due course, but not prior to the bronze medal match between Canada and France on 9 August.”

“The Canadian Soccer Association supports the work of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and will continue to cooperate fully,” said Victor Montagliani, President of the Canadian Soccer Association, in a release issued Wednesday. “We will work closely with FIFA to ensure a prompt and fair resolution in this matter.”

After the match, coach John Herdman and many of his key players — including hat-trick hero Christine Sinclair, striker Melissa Tancredi and keeper Erin McLeod, were critical of Norwegian official Christina Pedersen for calling the goalie for delay-of-game with Canada leading 3-2 and less than 15 minutes to play. A hand ball was called on the ensuing indirect free kick, and Abby Wambach scored the penalty to tie the game. The Americans won the match 4-3 in the 123rd minute of extra time.

FIFA then announced an investigation into the Canadian team and, Tuesday, in a conference call with media, Herdman said he was “unclear” about who and what FIFA was actually investigating. But he did say officials should be understanding of the situation the Canadians were in; that players had to do interviews just minutes after they were, as Herdman said, “broken.”

The Canadians had some unlikely allies. Yesterday, American players said they were fully understanding of why their semifinal opponents vented their frustrations in front of the camera.

“The Canadians are obviously going to be frustrated,” Morgan told NBC (see the piece HERE). “If I was in their position, I would be frustrated as well and not really want to sugarcoat my interviews. I’d just let it all out — like they did.”

But, Herdman, outside of injuries, will have his full roster at his disposal for the bronze-medal match. And that begs an interesting question: If FIFA discipline Canada down the road, when would it be applied? Canada does not have any World Cup qualifiers coming up, as the team is an automatic as hosts. Canada will play in tournaments and friendlies ahead of the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

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