The FAI (Ireland’s ruling Soccer organization) has demanded a reply of their match in which they lost to France yesterday. All of this comes over more bad calls/non-calls by officials and has even been brought to light by a French player who was involved in the incident.
I want to make clear that I am writing with the question…should this match be replayed? Not, is Ireland or France right or wrong…
France had their winning goal set up by a blatant handling of the ball by Thierry Henry. What’s more hilarious about this situation is that Henry admits that he handled the ball (making him liable for a penalty and thus shutting the play down.) What’s even more hilarious is the fact that a referee observer (whoever that is) and FIFA officials saw the handball plain-as-day and nothing is happening until now.
First, let’s just say that FIFA needs to get their act together. If this were NASCAR the race would have been stopped and ever NASCAR official in a 100-mile radius would have been called in to consult on how to fix this. FIFA did nothing.
Now, they have to deal with the FAI calling for a “do-over” which has happened before AND they have to deal with the offending player (humbly) admitting that he committed a penalty. What is FIFA to do?
If they allow the match to be replayed they are confirming what people like Sir Alex Ferguson of ManU have been saying…that officials in Soccer today suck. If they don’t replay the game there will probably be a riot in Ireland (not like that’s new or anything, but who wants a riot, really?) If they replay the game they are holding up the World Cup (which doesn’t start til next year, but even holding up qualifying is holding up the whole event.) If they don’t replay it then everyone on the planet will think they’re in bed with the French (and who doesn’t want to be in bed with the French?)
So, what is FIFA to do? Replay the match. Reprimand the official who missed the call and all of the FIFA officials who saw it and did nothing. Give Thierry Henry a special commendation for Honesty in Sport, and give Ireland their due with some better officials. It’s not that I don’t like France, I just hate bad officiating and especially when this much is on the line.