Santos FC head coach, Muricy Ramalho, thought he had seen it all. Then came last Saturday’s match against Texas A&M at Newark’s Newport Classic Airlines stadium. “It was like the earth was climbing up on its side — Neymar and Kardic were literally climbing up the last few yards to get near goal. And when they shoot, the ball just falls back down to Rafael (Santos’ goalkeeper) who’s already half in the net himself.” Two hours later the match was called at 32:0, Texas.
FIFA is said to be looking into possible ‘pitch-tampering,’ but the game suggests a larger structural problem within the beleaguered association.