A FIFA spokesperson who dismisses calls for a replay talks about Law 5, which also includes:
"acts on the advice of assistant referees regarding incidents that he has not seen."
According to an international French ref on the box last night, the ref did not seek the proper advice, and did not ask 4th official (which is allowable when unsighted).
I was at the game, with my French supporting youngest son and Irish supporting older son. We were among French supporters mainly. The response after the game was one of embarrassment, lots of handshakes, one chap nearly crying with remorse. The news headlines this morning were all about the hand.†
I honestly think most French people would support a replay. The French are not football fanatics and like their football to be good. And they can't stand Domenech (still officially the most unpopular man in the country). The French sports minister also criticised Domenech last night and the team for letting France down! Icons like Hidalgo and Lizarazu have also spoken out (Hidalgo called it Robbery).
It was 1-1 on aggregate at the time of the handball, so Ireland are not clamouring for victory, but for Fair Play, which is what FIFA chief Blatter claims he wants to promote too.
As for Henry, he should be fined and given a ban for having brought the game into disrepute. On the other hand, he does move the merchandise!
"I agree with you in every point. TV commentators were also very embarrassed and not happy. Especially the Arsenal's coach. Shameful. Sad. If there is no replay they encourage cheating. If there is a replay so many players will think twice before doing it. This is a unique opportunity to improve football. I hope they don't waste it." quote from a Mexican friend.
"Initial draw was rigged" (seedings decided before play-offs to favour big country teams, though Slovenia beating Russia undermines this idea; on the other hand Platini UEFA chief ain't Russian) "... and to paraphrase Blatter, how could the world cup be the same without Ronaldo and Henry? Ref was under huge pressure to give decision to France. Don't think he'll be refffing again though.
Apparently world cup qualifier between Uzbekistan and Bahrain was replayed a couple of years ago for similar decision. But this is France, and France - henry, anelka and co - will add to fifa coffers in south Africa. Ireland won't. How can Blatter and co go on about fair play - flags all over the place, etc - and allow this. But they will. Fin." quote from my brother
Two reactions to this: many people may now prefer Duff Keane and co to Henry et al, not just diaspora but also disenchanted millions. So the coffers could suffer. Also, as a BBC chap puts it, perhaps Ireland are better to watch anyway. Read it here.
Here is a quote from an Italian friend:"My son, Italian 7 year old, who is a fan of Ireland, because he plays rugby and watches the 6 Nations, cried yesterday evening for Ireland. He literally could not sleep..."
Anyone who is fan of French football as I am can only see on salvation for France and its great footballing heritage: offer to replay the match, do not be asked to, actually take the initiative yourselves. There have been too many errors recently that have turned not only matches on their head, but honesty and fair play too. It is time FIFA put it right and what better teams to start with than Ireland and France. Or as Oscar Wilde said, Every civilised man has two homes, his own and France.
Here's a conversation I had with a French man, who is not entirely in agreement.
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