His grandfather was from Argentina, and his father, Jose Maria Codesal, was a referee in the 1966 FIFA World Cup. As a child, he remembered his father refereeing. Edgardo was passionate about football, played in childhood Baby Football teams in the area, and in his teens, he played as a goalkeeper for the Club Atletico Cerro of Montevideo.
He began his career as a referee in Uruguay in 1976.
By 1977 he had his debut match in the Primera Division Uruguaya refereeing Cerro vs Huracan.
In 1980, he traveled to Mexico where he had contact with the Mexican Football Federation.
He advanced in his refereeing, starting to referee international matches and finals in Mexico.
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, and settled in Mexico later on, Edgardo Codesal represented Mexico, as a CONCACAF referee in the 1990 World Cup. Among his international posts, Codesal was CONCACAF’s director of referees, head of refereeing for the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 1999, and member of the refereeing committee for the FIFA World U-20 Championship in Nigeria, the Confederations Cup in Mexico and the FIFA World U-17 Championship in New Zealand.
FIFA observers rated Codesal 8.5 for his refereeing performance at the 1990 World Cup.
Codesal had officiated Italy vs USA match in the first round, won by Italy for 1-0.
He refereed the quarterfinal between England and Cameroon, awarding three penalties – one to Cameroon and two to England.
England won 3-2 to move into the semi-finals.
Codesal was credited with keeping control of a potentially difficult match over a period of 120 minutes.
FIFA appointed him as the referee for the World Cup Final at Rome between Argentina and West Germany, which has been cited as the most cynical and lowest-quality of all World Cup Final.
Argentina’s negativity and physical football ruined the atmosphere and in the end, Codesal awarded the Germans a controversial penalty, which gained the momentum of criticism from Diego Maradona and ill-tempered Argentine supporters.
The penalty was questionable, but at least it helped to stop the bloody-mindedness of Maradona and his men throughout the tournament and the best team of the event – Germany lifted the trophy!
After the Final, Maradona said, “Our players ran hard, but then came this man who ruined everything for us”.
“This man was scared that we would get to penalties. He wanted to make the Italian people happy. The black hand of this man expelled (Pedro) Monzon for a normal action, and later he called a penalty against us from his imagination”.
In an interview on the Tirando Paredes show a few months back, Codesal spoke about the final and Maradona.
Here are the excerpts:
On the Final and Maradona
“I could have sent him (Maradona) off before the game started as he was sweating profusely during the national anthem and displaying arrogance”.
“Later when I decided to send off Monzon, Maradona approached me and claimed I was a thief and on the FIFA payroll”.
“I saw Maradona do some remarkable things on the pitch and also saw that his knee had ballooned from aggressive tackling”.
“As a player, he was the best but as a person, he was an unpleasant person and one of the worst I’ve gotten to know in my life”.
On the backlash received after the interview
“Following the wave of comments, insults [going back 30 years] and yearnings that my children and my grandchildren die of COVID-19 to see me suffer because I said Maradona is despicable, see the definition: not worthy of appreciation and esteem. For me, he is not [worthy of appreciation]. I said he was a brilliant player, but as a person he’s despicable”.