Declan Rice accuses referee of ‘corruption’ as West Ham lose to Eintracht Frankfurt in Europa League

Declan Rice approaches referee Jesus Gil Manzano in Frankfurt

West Ham captain Declan Rice has accused referee Jesus Gil Manzano of ‘corruption’ and having been ‘paid’ following the Hammers’ Europa League exit to Eintracht Frankfurt.

West Ham were beaten 1-0 in Germany on Thursday night, as Rafael Borre netted the only goal of the semi-final second leg – shortly after Aaron Cresswell was sent off and before David Moyes saw red.

Left back Cresswell received a straight red card on 19 minutes for bringing down Jens Hauge when the Frankfurt forward was through on goal. It was Cresswell’s second sending-off in the knockout rounds, with the 32-year-old having also seen red in the quarter-final first leg at home to Lyon.

Seven minutes after Cresswell’s latest red card, Borre took advantage of West Ham’s weakened defence to score and extend Frankfurt’s aggregate lead to 3-1, with the Bundesliga club having emerged 2-1 winners at the London Stadium last week.

In the second half on Thursday, West Ham coach Moyes booted a ball in frustration over the amount of time it was taking a ball kid to retrieve it. The incident resulted in Moyes being shown a red card, too.

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In a TikTok video since posted on Fox Sports Mx’s page, footage from the tunnel shows Rice angrily speaking to Manzano – seemingly after full time.

“Ref, ref, it’s so poor,” the West Ham midfielder can be heard shouting at the official. “All night, it’s so bad. How can you be that bad?”

“Honestly you’ve probably been f***ing paid. F***ing corruption,” Rice says, as Manzano seems to reply, “Come on, come on, come on.”

Aaron Cresswell (right) was sent off in Frankfurt, as he was at home to Lyon in the quarter-finals (Mike Egerton/PA)

The footage appears to document the moments after the final whistle, as West Ham players and the officials returned to their respective changing rooms while Frankfurt fans invaded the pitch to celebrate with their team.

Uefa has said it will wait on the referee’s report before deciding whether to take action against Rice.

In 2009, Chelsea striker Didier Drogba was given a six-game European ban for confronting Champions League semi-final referee Tom Henning Ovrebo and shouting into a TV camera: “It’s a f***ing disgrace.” The last two matches of the six-game ban were suspended for two years. Drogba’s teammate Jose Bosingwa also received a four-game ban – with one fixture suspended – for branding Ovrebo a “thief” after the match, a second leg home draw with Barcelona that saw the Catalan club advance.

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After West Ham’s first leg against Frankfurt, the Premier League team announced that they were investigating reports that two German commentators had been attacked during the match at the London Stadium. ESPN commentator Derek Rae reported that the duo, Philipp Hofmeister and Tim Brockmeier, were working for ARD Radio and explained later on air that one was “struck on the neck” when West Ham supporters possibly took umbrage at the broadcasters’ emotional expressions when Eintracht scored the opening goal.

In the other semi-final, Rangers overturned a 2-1 deficit to beat RB Leipzig 3-2 on aggregate.

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Last season’s Scottish champions led 2-0 at home on Thursday, having been beaten in Germany last week, though Leipzig pulled a goal back in the second leg to set the tie on course for extra time.

John Lundstram scored Rangers’ third goal of the evening, however, to move them back in front on aggregate and seal their spot in the final, where they will face Frankfurt in Seville on 18 May.

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