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   June 21, 2002 | 1500 IST


Umit Davala
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Pele says refereeing very, very poor

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Brazilian soccer legend Pele has said the level of refereeing in the World Cup has been poor so far and FIFA should take measures to improve it for future games.

"Referees make mistakes. We all make mistakes. Sometimes as a player we try to trick and create problems for the referees on the field. This is not fair but it's part of the game," the three-time winner for Brazil said.

"But.. I think the refereeing has been very, very poor. FIFA should pay attention in the future and in the next games."

Pele was asked about the controversial calls in Tuesday's second round match between co-hosts South Korea and Italy which sent the three-time World Cup winners packing.

"You can't say (the referee) is unfair. Maybe, it was a mistake. But... the referee is an important part of the game, and he cannot make easy mistakes," he said.

"FIFA should work hard on that, because it could spoil the game."

Pele refrained from answering a reporter's question on whether he thought Italian striker Francesco Totti had taken a dive during the match against South Korea.

Totti was sent off for a second booking after the referee judged he had simulated a foul in the penalty area.

The Italians are furious about the refereeing of Tuesday's 2-1 defeat, with state broadcaster RAI even saying it was considering taking FIFA to court for lost earnings caused by the decisions of the officials.

Pele, who has an advisory role with FIFA, said world soccer's governing body is discussing the use of television replays in making decisions on the field, as well as in penalising players by taking them out of the match for a certain amount of time as in the game of hockey.

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