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Busted World Cup Ref Pleads Not Guilty

To most people Byron Moreno is just another name like Joe Schmo or John Smith, but to fans of Italy’s national football club Moreno’s name is one of the most sickening that can ever be uttered. Moreno was the official of the infamous 2002 Italy-South Korea World Cup quarterfinals match that saw South Korea win and advance further then any Asian zone team in the history of the Cup in the process.

Fans of the Azurri believe that South Korea never should have advanced to the next round and several Italian footballers and their former coach have accused Moreno of holding a grudge against the powerhouse team and fixing the match. The real controversybegain in extra time of the 2002 match, Moreno dealt out the second yellow card to Francesco Totti for allegedly diving in the box. Video reviews of the play clearly show that the defender nudged Totti enough that he did not dive, but in fact slipped and fell due to the minor contact. It didn’t matter though and South Korea advanced to the semifinals only to lose.

Well a few months back Moreno was busted in New York after arriving on an incoming flight to Kennedy Airport. The former World Cup official was accused of possessing several small plastic bags of heroine which were reportedly strapped to the former ref’s body. Moreno was searched by customs because the security guards believed he looked very nervous while waiting in line. Apparently after the search was conducted Moreno was arrested and charged with smuggling heroine. Many Italian officials and footballers expressed a certain degree of joy of hearing the news and expressed that they had always thought Moreno was not a person of good character and likely was untrustworthy in his football profession as well.  

Now Moreno is claiming that he is innocent of these charges which sounds a bit bizarre to me because he clearly seemed to be caught with the drugs strapped onto his body at the airport. Moreno may be claiming that customs planted the items on him or that he was physically forced into becoming a mule for the drugs by a cartel, but regardless of the supposed scenario it appears that it will be a tough case for Moreno to prove his innocence considering all the evidence piled up is heavily against the odds of him not smuggling heroine.