RIO DE JANEIRO, June 18 (Reuters) - Not even the ‘Hand of God’ could open the doors to a packed Maracana stadium for Argentina’s World Cup game against Bosnia.
After Pele revealed that he had to listen on the radio in his car to the first half of Brazil’s 0-0 draw with Mexico on Wednesday, due to being stuck in traffic, Diego Maradona has claimed that he was refused entry to a game.
Maradona, who notoriously used his fist to score a goal that helped knock England out of the 1986 World Cup, told Argentine television that he was denied entry to the Group F clash at the Maracana stadium in Rio on Sunday.
The 53-year-old World Cup winner has been working as a television pundit during the tournament but said he was unable to take a seat.
”I was not allowed to go in to the game,“ he told TyC Sports. ”So I had to return to the hotel to see the second half. I did everything I could but they would not let us in.
”Someone just said no, it could not happen, so I had to watch it on TV. Hopefully we will get this resolved because I want to go and see Argentina in several more games.
“It is one thing to not be able to go to a game, and another to not be allowed to go. When there is goodwill, you’re allowed in but when there is ill will, it’s better to forget it and head back to the hotel, which it’s what we did.”
A FIFA spokesperson said they had not been formally informed of any problem involving Maradona.
“We have not received any report. I read the news article and we double-checked. As long as he is going in with the right media access (on his accreditation) there shouldn’t be any issue,” said the spokesperson.
“Maybe he went somewhere where he didn’t have the necessary access but we have no record of it, we have not received anything from him or anybody else.”
Argentina’s next game is against Iran in Belo Horizonte on Saturday.
Pele was one of many who missed the first half of Brazil’s match against Mexico on Tuesday after being caught in traffic as fans rushed to get home before kickoff.
“For the first time I had to listen to the first half of a Brazil game inside a car, we were stuck in traffic,” the Brazilian soccer great told Globo TV. (Reporting By Simon Evans; editing by Justin Palmer)