The nation of Ireland woke this morning with a sick feeling in their stomachs. Just the night before, their national soccer team lost the chance to appear in next World Cup by losing 2-1 on aggregate. It wasn’t the fact that Ireland lost, but the fact that we were blatantly cheated by an arrogant cheat in the form of Thierry Henry.
No matter who you talked to this morning, everyone had the same opinion. Ireland were blatantly robbed.
You didn’t even have to be a soccer lover to know that what happened last night was one of the most unjust events in soccer history since Maradona handled the ball into the English goal in the World Cup finals of 1986. One major difference of people’s opinions was where to lay the blame. Some say it was the referee’s (including the linesman) fault for not spotting the offence, whereas others lay the blame squarely on the perpetrator, Thierry Henry, for being so unsporting. Personally I feel there is not just one place you can lay the blame for this sorry event. But if Henry had any decency at all, he would have held his hands up and admitted he had cheated. The other side of the coin is, that not one of the Irish team would have done this if they were in the same boat. So how can we blame Henry for not being honest?
As a Man United fan, I rarely voice my opinions on referees – Alex Ferguson does enough of that and I certainly don’t need to add to it. But I finally have an excuse to vent my anger towards referees and their inconsistency that brings the game of football into disrepute.
Let’s first take a couple of examples from last nights game to show you examples of referees inconsistencies:
Robbie Keane, must have had at LEAST 3 handball given decisions against him. None of them were as blatant as Theirry Henry’s handball, yet he got Thierry Henry was able to JUGGLE the ball before passing it to Gallas to score their equaliser.
Diarra, in the French midfield was constantly fouling the Irish players yet was never once awarded a yellow card for persistent fouling. Why not? Overall the referee had a good game last night – but when the key important decisions were to be made, he went missing.
This sort of inconsistent refereeing takes place every week in the Premier League. In one game you could have a situation classed as offside, but on the other side of the country, the exact same event would be deemed as onside. It’s this inconsistency that drives soccer players crazy, it’s no wonder they constantly surround referees and shout abuse when they clearly have no idea where they stand.
People who love Rugby, love to draw everyones attention to the fact that you never see referees being surrounded by players hurling abuse at them – the simple fact is that it doesn’t happen in Rugby for a number of reasons. Firstly, there are consequences. If you do something such as stamp on someones head, you will be punished after the game regardless. In football, you MIGHT be punished. Secondly, if a try is a try and it’s clear from the instant replays in real-time – you will be awarded the try. This is completely fair and the players have no reason to feel hard done by.
I don’t understand the bodies that run football’s reluctance to bring in video refereeing. Maybe it’s down to the fact that they feel it might slow the game down – there are so many rules and situations in football that could go to a video referee that it might just be overwhelming. If this is the case, all they have to do is follow the rules similar to Tennis, you only get limited number of calls per set. Even if it was 2 per half – it would hardly slow down the game at all.
I’ve a horrible feeling that if the shoe was on the other foot and it was Ireland that scored last night by carrying the ball over the line, video refereeing would be standard from here on in – but we’re just too small in the eyes of Blatter and Platini to even care about what happened.
The simple fact is – this event proves it’s time for video refereeing.
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- Robbie Keane claims Fifa and Uefa will be “delighted” France beat Republic (guardian.co.uk)
- Thierry Henry’s hand ball leads to bitter evening for Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni (telegraph.co.uk)
- ‘Hand Of Gaul’ Robs Irish Of World Cup Place (news.sky.com)
- Villain Henry as Ireland, Ukraine, Russia exit (soccernet.espn.go.com)