An interesting article on the referee Abraham Klein was recently published in The Guardian, a British newspaper. You can read it here:
We found this article be very revealing about the politics (that we always knew about anyway!) that go into the selection of referees for World Cups and for matches during those tournaments. The article also included accounts of the strenuous efforts Klein went to in order to keep fit, back in the days without personal trainers and all the other high-tech equipment, monitoring and supervision that present day top-level referees enjoy.
We later got to see Mr. Klein quite frequently as he came over here for the Dallas Cup tournament for several years in the early 1980s and I can say that I can count him as a colleague and friend. Although he did not referee the World Cup final, not many referees can match his achievements of being selected for three World Cups and two Olympics, and for being appointed to “marquee” matches in those competitions. Brazil v. England and Brazil v. Italy are matches that any FIFA referee would consider plum appointments. These are especially exceptional achievements for a referee who was not from one of the major soccer nations.
[Incidentally the Brazil v Italy in 1982 match featured the Italian defender Gentile, one of the old-fashioned hard men of the game. We actually produced a home-made video-tape to illustrate the concept of “Persistent Infringement” showing a series of fouls by Gentile in this and other matches. The games were broadcast only in Spanish that year from a Mexican TV station, and I can still hear the commentator repeatedly stating “otro falta de Gentile.” But he was never cautioned for PI. ]
We enjoyed reading the article but we find this sentence especially ironic: “Klein did not appear in Graham Poll's list of the 50 greatest referees of all time, a list that includes – and you'll like this – Graham Poll.” [N.B. Mr. Poll modestly rated himself at number 43.] Later in the article Klein is quoted as follows: “Some very, very famous referees – I don't want to tell you their names – made some bad decisions in World Cup games.”
I wonder to whom he was referring? Form your own conclusion!