Handling the Problem…

20 11 2009

The whole Thierry Henry/handball/Irish thing continues to rumble on days after the match finished amid high emotions. The trouble is, everyone is looking to blame somebody. For me, Henry cannot be blamed. Yes, he handled the ball, and if the referee had blown up then he would have been caught and he wouldn’t have made a fuss about it. The handball is within the new spirit of the game, win by any means, even if it means cheating (be that in the form of a dive, a handball or any other means). Henry cannot, in all reality, have been expected to give up the chance of his last World Cup when it was apparent he had got away with his act. Nor would he have been able to show his face in his own country any time soon had France gone on to lose. Henry did what any other player, across the world would have done, he carried on. Neither the English nor the Irish can have any complaints as both know that they would have done the same had the situation so arisen.

The referee is most obviously to blame, both he, and his linesman failed to spot the handball. In their defence, they were both hampered by bodies in the way. Yet they failed to do what they are being paid for, and as a consequence, will probably not go to the finals. Much like Ireland, their opportunity was taken away when the decision was missed.

Some have sought to blame FIFA, and personally I think that their late decision to seed the play-offs was a disgrace. Once so called ‘big-guns’ had failed in the qualifying rounds, FIFA acted to ensure that the countries that would bring in the most money from TV rights etc were aided as best they could be. Portugal and France qualified, Russia, despite this help, failed. I cannot help but wonder if the same decision would have been made if it had been, for example, England instead of France. I somehow doubt it. I personally think Sepp Blatter is a fool who is destroying football rather than developing it, and the actions of FIFA in this instance leave a bitter taste in the mouth.

Amidst all this, England are struggling to maintain a serious bid for the 2018 World Cup. With their heirarchy in apparent disarray and the bid still stalling (apparently), I’m not too sure that any British bid is likely to be successful whilst Blatter is at the helm and anglophile Platini is involved in UEFA. Whilst the clowns are in charge of the circus, the show falls to the ground. International footballing bodies need to take a good long look at themselves, and then those in charge do the honourable thing and step down, so that people who understand the sport can save it from sporting ignomy.

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