FIFA decided earlier this week that French forward Thierry Henry would not be punished following the intentional handball incident that sealed a spot in the World Cup for France and destroyed Ireland’s hopes at making it to South Africa. For well over a month Henry’s Cup eligibility was still up in the air as officials debated whether or not to suspend the Barcelona star for the flagrant play. But deep down FIFA knows that the unfortunate incident was none other then their own fault and that is why they didn’t suspend Henry.
If it wasn’t FIFA who was so rigid on not allowing critical plays to be officially reviewed then the incident never would have stood up in the first place. If international football underwent a similar approach that the NFL allows for review then these types of things would never happen. Imagine if both coaches were allowed one reviewable play a half. And they seriously limited what could be reviewed. For example lets say the only plays that could be reviewed were ones that a goal was involved in. So no hard tackle reviews or judgement type calls that were made on the spot. Strictly plays like if the ball crossed the line, or went out of bounds, or if a player was blatantly off-sides, or if a player clearly intentionally handballs the ball in the box!
FIFA will likely never make such a modern day review rule and we will likely see more follies down the road (After all this isn’t the first time that a player swatted a ball). But allowing Henry to go unpunished is completely necessary. He didn’t do anything wrong from an athlete’s perspective.
But from a fan’s perspective, FIFA needs to get with the times and allow critical plays to be under review.