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Fire's Blanco and MLS Referee Under Investigation
Columbus Dispatch, April 29th, 2009 3:15PM



Referee Jair Marrufo and Fire star Cuauhtemoc Blanco are currently under investigation by the U.S. Soccer Federation and the league for their conduct during the 2-2 tie between Columbus and Chicago on Saturday.

Multiple witnesses reported seeing Blanco broach the entrance to the referees' locker room following the game with a Fire jersey in his hand. He reportedly tossed the jersey into the room occupied by Marrufo and his assistant referees. "All referees know they are not supposed to accept gifts from anyone," said Ohio state referee administrator Ken Baldoesingh.

During the game, Marrufo issued a controversial red card to Crew defender Gino Padula for a foul on Blanco in the second half. Leading 2-0 at the time of the card, the Crew allowed two late goals while playing at a man disadvantage. The Crew is appealing the automatic fine and one-game suspension of Padula, citing inconsistencies in Marrufo's calls and his alleged acceptance of Blanco's gift.

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