Honduras will visit the Estadio Azteca on Tuesday night with a spot in the Hex on the line, and coach Jorge Luis Pinto is not pleased with the assigned referee for that important World Cup qualifying match: Mark Geiger.
The American official was the center of a storm of controversy after making a dubious penalty call in favor of Mexico in the 2015 Gold Cup semifinal. Geiger was ultimately suspended from international refereeing for six months in the wake of that game.
With Pinto already feeling that Honduras has been getting short shrift from the referees in this qualifying cycle, he stated in no uncertain terms that “We are going to request that they change the referee” for Tuesday’s match, adding that Geiger was “terrible” in that controversial Mexico/Panama Gold Cup game.
José Ernesto Mejía, the secretary of the Honduran soccer federation, confirmed that an official request has been submitted to FIFA requesting a referee change. He noted that Geiger “is very prone” to submitting to pressure from the crowd “as we could see in the performance he had in the Panama vs Mexico game.” He then noted that the crowd in the Azteca would be much more influential.
“We feel he is not prepared for a game of these characteristics,” Mejía said, before acknowledging that “it’s very difficult for FIFA to be able to change at the last minute, but the Federation has made the attempt.”