Byron Moreno, Italy’s nightmare for twenty years

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Since, exactly twenty years ago, the end of Italy-South Korea whistled and the most shameful refereeing in the history of the World Cup ended, Byron Moreno he has become not only the planetary icon of the incapable referee (and therefore capable of all wickedness) but also the protagonist of a life that increasingly resembles a TV series.

The Ecuadorian, in fact, who is now going for 53 years and who refereed the last match one year after that World Cup that took place in 2002 between Japan and South Korea; in these twenty years he has been accused of sporting offense (acquitted) and suspended by FIFA (but for having participated in a television program, certainly not for his misdeeds), he presented himself as a candidate for the municipal council of Quito, his city (a failure: he was not elected), danced with Carmen Russo on the program Stupid Hotel Rai2, he was taken for a ride and was targeted at the coins when he participated (lavishly paid) in the Carnival of Cento, he pecked eggs in the face during the refereeing of a soccer match in Italy.

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It might be enough, but not. It was his a life on a roller coaster. In September 2010, the ineffable Byron Moreno was arrested at New York’s JFK airport for international drug trafficking. There were six kilos of heroin in his bag. Sentenced to two years and six months, he was released from jail after fifteen months for good behavior. He was extradited to Ecuador, where he is currently being investigated for tax evasion.

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Over? Not at all. At the moment the referee with the eyes to the ball and it boiled fish look is the conductor of the program Byron’s whistle. Guess what we’re talking about? Correct answer. Of football. Indeed, of referees. And therefore Byron Moreno makes fleas on his colleagues and analyzes the referee mistakes of the Ecuadorian championship matches.

For those who have forgotten: on that day, June 18, 2002, Byron Moreno sensationally favored the South Koreans hosts – in fact it was played in Daejon – he signaled non-existent offside, hastily expelled Totti and led the match up to 118 minutes of torture, until – it was 1-1 – North Korea scored the golden goal that eliminated Trapattoni’s blues from the tournament and sent them back home early. It was the round of 16.

The then president of the FIGC, Franco Carraro, shouted from the rooftops that it was the “South American mafia” that had killed Italy. Incredibly, however, FIFA found no irregularities in Byron Moreno’s refereeing. Which is therefore entitled, twenty years later, to reiterate that “it was one of the best three matches I have refereed in my career” and laugh when they tell him that in Italy his name has become the symbol of the poor refereeperhaps corrupt, obviously “cuckold” in the popular imagination.

Other stories of Vanity Fair that may interest you:

– World Cup without Italy, who to cheer for?

– Qatar 2022: the world is at the World Cup (minus Italy)

Source: Vanity Fair

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