Byron Moreno, the referee accused by Italy over their World Cup defeat by South Korea, has been suspended for 20 matches – for losing the plot back home.

Moreno, an increasingly controversial character in his native Ecuador, was banned pending an investigation by the national federation for his handling of last weekend’s top league game between LDU Quito and Barcelona of Guayaquil.

Moreno earned headlines around the world for his officiating in Italy’s golden goal defeat by co-hosts South Korea in the second round. He sent off Italy’s Francesco Totti and disallowed what should have been a winning goal from Damiano Tommasi.

Moreno was treated as a hero on his return to Ecuador. But he ran into controversy first when he aligned himself with a far right party in forthcoming presidential elections. Now he is back in trouble after LDU’s turbulent victory.

He refused two clear penalties for LDU and one for Barcelona; he then allowed a goal by LDU when his assistant had been flagging for offside then changed his mind after the Barcelona players appealed for him to consult his colleague; he also allowed 12 minutes of injury time at the end of the second half.
By Keir Radnedge