MOSCOW (AP) – Diego Maradona has apologized to FIFA after soccer's governing body rebuked his comments criticizing American referee Mark Geiger's work in England's win over Colombia in the World Cup round of 16.
The Argentina great who is a FIFA ambassador told Venezuelan broadcaster Telesur that the outcome of that game was a ''monumental theft.''
Maradona posted Thursday on Facebook that he said some things that were unacceptable because he was ''driven by the emotions while rooting for Colombia.'' He said he sometimes disagrees with referees' decisions but has ''the outmost respect for their job, which is not easy.''
FIFA had tolerated previous incidents by Maradona at games in Russia. He apologized for making an offensive gesture toward a South Korean fan at Argentina's opening 1-1 draw with Iceland in Moscow and also broke World Cup stadium rules by smoking a cigar.
Maradona also was filmed on FIFA's official television broadcast aggressively raising his middle fingers after Argentina scored a late winning goal against Nigeria in St. Petersburg.