June 16, 2015 / 4:38 PM / in 2 years

Chile president takes a swipe at Copa America referees

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chilean President Michelle Bachelet made a colorful dig at Copa America referees on Tuesday, the day after two controversial offside calls foiled the national soccer team’s chance to win after a thrilling comeback against the Mexican squad.

The topic of the press conference was not soccer, but a new law promoting foreign investments. Still, Bachelet snuck in a jab at the game officials, taking advantage of the similarities between the Spanish word for referee, “arbitro” and the word for arbitrary, “arbitrario”.

“We are guaranteeing, for example, that there will be no arbitrary discrimination, which is a word that sits poorly with many Chileans today: arbitrary, which seems like the word referee,” Bachelet said, eliciting laughter from the press.

Bachelet’s barb was directed at two offside calls in the final 30 minutes of the match with Mexico on Monday night, in the Copa America’s opening round robin stage.

Chile had to settle for a 3-3 draw after two goals were ruled out for offside. The calls angered Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli, who felt his team should have won.

“I discovered that for some reason refereeing is arbitrary,” said Bachelet.

Reporting by Felipe Iturrieta; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Anthony Esposito and David Gregorio

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