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Referee who officiated Ghana and Portugal game finally speaks out

Moroccan-born American referee, Ismail Elfath has rendered an apology to the fans of the Black Stars for awarding Christiano Ronaldo a controversial penalty.

The Black Stars of Ghana on 24 November lost 3-2 to the former European champions, Portugal at the Stadium 974 in their group opener at the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

During the game, Mohammed Salisu was adjudged to have fouled Ronaldo in the 18-yard box in the 63rd minute which led to Elfath awarding a penalty to Portugal but the Ghanaian players protested heavily against the decision with the Africans telling the referee to check the VAR, but the 40-year-old ignored their prayers.

A lot of Ghanaians also lambasted the referee over his refusal to check the VAR before awarding the penalty. One of the people who dragged the referee was sports journalist Saddick Adams, who described Ismail Elfath as an apology of a referee and called out FIFA to penalize the referee.

According to sports journalist Saddick Adams, Ghanaian Dr. Joe K, formerly of Prempeh College caught up with the embattled referee in Qatar.

In reaction to the public outburst, Ismail Elfath insisted that he awarded Christiano Ronaldo the penalty based on what he saw at the moment on the pitch. He emphasized that it was a penalty and he would have been told otherwise by VAR if it was not the case.

He however expressed shock over the backlash he received from social media users online; adding that he has also taken note of the contrary opinions expressed by renowned referees and pundits.

Ismail Elfath insisted that he loves Ghana and doesn’t have anything against Ghana as reported because he used to play football with Ghanaians.

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