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Kiwi referee not troubled by World Cup blunder

GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 05:00 08/08/2014
Mark Rule
Fairfax NZ
MOVING ON: Mark Rule is not reflecting on his blunder in Brazil.

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Palmerston North's Mark Rule doesn't want to dwell on his mistake at the football World Cup.

Rule was on the receiving end of criticism for an incorrect offside call during a match between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Nigeria at the World Cup in Brazil in June.

Bosnian star striker Edin Dzeko scored to put his side 1-0 up against Nigeria, only for Rule to flag late for offside. Referee Peter O'Leary, of Whangarei, went with Rule's decision and the goal was disallowed. Replays later indicated Rule was in the wrong.

Rule and O'Leary and the other assistant referee Jan-Hendrik Hintz copped criticism after Bosnia were knocked out of the tournament as a result of the loss.

A petition for O'Leary to be removed from the World Cup received 20,000 signatures.

Rule returned to New Zealand before the semifinals, but didn't want to speak about the only game the New Zealand trio got.

"I just went back to our hotel and carried on tournament life as normal [afterwards]."

The three Kiwis won't be taking holidays to Bosnia any time soon, but the experience hadn't knocked his confidence.

"I'm fine, I'll live to fight another day. I did the Newcastle-Phoenix game since returning home the weekend before last and, from a personal point of view, that went really well."

Rule and Hintz are two of four New Zealanders on Fifa's panel of senior assistant referees.

With their reputation having suffered, Rule was uncertain about what the game would mean for his future officiating at the top level. "You don't know when the tournaments are going to come, I'm not going to guarantee anything." Fairfax NZ

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