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US 'outrage'........

Winnipeg Fury

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...or should I say stupidity:

N.J. governor upset when U.S. anthem not played before England-Colombia match

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - U.S. and international soccer officials are puzzled over acting governor Richard J. Codey's outrage that "The Star-Spangled Banner" was not played before a match between England and Colombia.

Codey attended Tuesday's match at Giants Stadium and became annoyed when the U.S. national anthem was not played along with the anthems of the countries in the match - even though that is the normal protocol.

He said he immediately asked game organizers why it wasn't played and was told, "Governor, we're really very sorry. The British people don't want to hear it," The Star-Ledger of Newark reported in Thursday's newspapers.

"When you have two countries you host so they can play each other, and have the anthems of both countries played but decide not to play the anthem of the host country, well that's about as absurd as it gets," Codey said Thursday. "What could they possibly be thinking?"

The governor sent letters to the chairman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which manages the Meadowlands complex, and to Britain's ambassador to the United States.

"The failure to play our national anthem was disrespectful not only to us as a the host, it was disrespectful to our country, the teams, the sport and all involved. This shouldn't happen in New Jersey, and it shouldn't happen anywhere," Codey wrote.

George Zoffinger, chief executive of the sports authority, said not playing the U.S. anthem before an event at the complex is a violation of the authority's policy. However, playing only the anthems of the competing teams in a soccer match is standard for international games, including the World Cup.

"Part of it (anthems) is for the introduction of those players in the match," said FIFA spokesman John Schumacher. "The match protocol is only the two teams."

FIFA, which has 205 members throughout the world, had no jurisdiction over Tuesday's game.

"Any member is responsible for the international matches that go on in their territory," Schumacher said.

U.S. Soccer spokesman Jim Moorhouse concurred with FIFA's statements.

"The normal international protocol would be (to play the anthems of) the two nations that are playing," Moorhouse said. "There are lots of international games played on neutral sites all over the world."

Both Moorhouse and Schumacher said they never heard a similar complaint.

Major League Soccer, which helped promote the match, was comfortable with the decision not to play the U.S. anthem and did not intend to disrespect anyone, spokesman Dan Courtemanche said.

"The standard is to play only the national anthems of the two competing teams," Courtemanche explained.

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