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MLS referee Jair Marrufo will not officiate an MLS match this weekend as punishment for his handling of the Cuauhtemoc Blanco gift jersey situation, the Columbus Dispatch is reporting.
Marrufo, the 2008 MLS referee of the year, received a signed jersey from Blanco after the Chicago Fire-Columbus Crew match, a move that has called into question Marrufo's impartiality and raised some doubts about Marrufo's handling of the Crew-Fire match, which ended in a 2-2 tie and saw Marrufo issue a red card to Crew defender Gino Padula for a foul on Blanco.
"(Marrufo) was informed his actions were unacceptable," U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe told the Dispatch. "He agreed he made an error in judgment in accepting the jersey after the match. He's not being suspended. (Pulling him off a game) is a chance for him to clear his head a little bit."
The decision to have Marrufo sit this weekend was made by U.S. Soccer officials, which oversee MLS referees. There is no word yet on the Columbus Crew's appeal of Padula's red card.
Buethe clarified one quote attributed to him in the story regarding the possibility of such actions leading to a suspension.
"It's not as if an incident like this would never cause a suspension," Buethe said, pointing out that, depending on the circumstances, a referee could indeed be suspended for accepting a gift from a player.
What do you think of the decision to have Marrufo miss a match? Is that fair enough punishment? Did Marrufo deserve a suspension? Were you hoping he would be fired, or was Jersey-Gate much ado about nothing?
Share your thoughts below.