Panaji: The owners of FC Goa and coach Zico on Monday blamed the ISL final loss on the Japanese referee and Chennaiyin coach Marco Materazzi who allowed his team to "maim and cripple" the Goa players.
A disillusioned Zico asked reporters at a press conference here whether it was just playing football or other means which win a team the match, even as FC Goa promoter Shrinivas Dempo ruled out match-fixing in the final on Sunday, in which the Goa team lost to Chennaiyin FC 3-2 in a closely-fought encounter.
"I have no idea why these three Japanese guys, they have all the strength and power to referee these three important games. I know by the palm of my hand, the thinking of the Japanese referees," Zico said.
He did not elaborate on his criticism of the Japanese referees, including Yudai Yamamoto, who officiated the final.
Accusing the referees of not being sensitive enough, Zico questioned whether it was football alone or other factors which win a game.
"Is it worth playing football to win a game or you have to work in another way to win a game? Am I right, asking my team to just play football (to win)?" Zico said, in response to a query on the quality of refereeing in the knockout stages of the ISL.
Co-owner Dattaraj Salgaocar also called the refereeing standards "very poor", adding that once it was declared that the Japanese referee would officiate the match, the Goa team management knew it would be an uphill climb.
Both Salgaocar and Zico lashed out at Chennaiyin FC coach Materazzi for allowing his team to play a rough game.
"... then when you have a very aggressive form of football, with coach Materazzi there, who is allowing them (players) to do whatever they will with malicious intent, to maim, to cripple, with studs out, elbows out with that kind of a thing," Salgaocar said.
Zico also questioned the comfort with which Materazzi hugged the referee in the final, an act which the Brazilian football legend said, normally merits a red card.
"The coach of Chennaiyin was hugging the referee like a good friend. I don't know, if you go by rules, no player or staff can even touch a referee, because you can get a red card for that," Zico said.
(With inputs from Agencies)