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Whistler Dallas in red card storm.

Scots referee Hugh Dallas was at the centre of a row last night after red carding TWO players in Belgium's 2-2 draw with Mexico.

But the Bonkle whistler was gagged and unable to defend himself against allegations made on TV that he over reacted.

Dallas said: "The World Cup organising committee's instructions on speaking about games in which they are involved are very specific.

"I will attend a de-briefing in Paris and until that has taken place I am not allowed to make any comment.

"All I can say is that it was a difficult match to handle because of the intense heat in Bordeaux. The temperature inside the ground was near to boiling point. It was the warmest I have known since I started as a referee.

"But both sets of players shook my hand at the end. Sometimes a match can look different on television from the way it does when you are inside the ground."

That explanation was clearly unacceptable to TV pundit Alan Hansen and Leicester City manager Martin O'Neill.

They rubbished the ref's dismissal of Mexican Pavel Pardo for a tackle from behind and laughed off the red card shown to Gert Verheyen when he conceded a penalty to Mexico.

But former Rangers and England star Trevor Steven, who watched the game for French TV, said: "I thought all his decisions were correct and easily justified.

"I remember him from my time at Ibrox and I thought then that he was a good referee.

"He did what he had to do under the circumstances as far as I can see."

Red carded Mexican Pardo said: "I was stunned. I thought the referee was going to pull out a yellow card."

Verheyen was also unhappy with his sending-off and said: "I can't argue with the penalty but I was surprised by the red card."

Dehydration was clearly a problem for Dallas. He drank as many bottles of water as he could handle at half-time and was allowed to go to the touchline for more liquids when there was a break in second- half play.

But he said: "The whole day was a fantastic experience for me. It is now up to FIFA whether or not I get another game."

MATCH REPORT: PAGE 60
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Keevins, Hugh
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 21, 1998
Words:377
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