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FIFA delays suspension decision against Canadian women’s soccer team

Christine Sinclair leaves the field after Canada's 4 - 3 overtime loss to the United States in semi-final action in Manchester at the 2012 London Olympics.

The Canadian Press

The Canadian women's soccer team will head into the Olympic bronze medal game against France with a full roster.

FIFA, the international body that governs soccer, announced Wednesday that it will not render a decision on its investigation into post-match incidents involving the Canada team until after it plays France in Thursday's bronze-medal game in Coventry.

Canadian captain Christine Sinclair and forward Melissa Tancredi were among several players highly-critical of the work of Norwegian referee Christina Pedersen in Monday's 4-3 semi-final loss to the U.S.

Pedersen, who has worked international games since 2007 and was one of 16 referees selected to work the 2011 women's World Cup, made several awkward calls impacting the game, the worst of them against Canada.

"We feel cheated," Sinclair said afterward. "It's a shame that in a game as important as that, the ref decided the result before it started."

Said Tancredi: "She (Pedersen) could have done a better job. A way better job. This is the semi-finals. We're supposed to be professionals and they should act like one too. I feel robbed. That's all I can say. I said to her: 'I hope you can sleep tonight and put on your American jersey because that's who you played for today.'"

When FIFA announced its disciplinary committee was going to investigate the post-match actions, there was concern in the Canadian camp that some key players might be suspended for the bronze-medal match.

"The Canadian Soccer Association supports the disciplinary committee and will continue to co-operate fully," said CSA president Victor Montagliani in a statement following FIFA's announcement on Wednesday. "We will work closely with FIFA to ensure a prompt and fair resolution in this matter."

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FIFA's release said: "In view of the elements currently at its disposal, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee considers that further investigation will be needed regarding incidents that occurred after the conclusion of the match between Canada and the USA on August 6 at Old Trafford.

"The FIFA Disciplinary Committee is therefore not in a position to take any further decision at present. Further information will be provided in due course but not prior to the bronze medal match between Canada and France on 9 August."

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