Monday, November 23, 2009

FIFA Handily Raises Ire in Ireland

The Olympics of soccer, the World Cup takes place in South Africa next year. Like the Olympics, only the best in the world will compete, in this case, it comes down to 32 countries. So qualifying to squeeze into the coveted 32 has been taking place this year, and a few days ago, two top European teams battled it out for that spot. Unfortunately, FIFA, the International Federation of Association Football, has been very rigid in playoff competition, so much so that an obvious handball, which is illegal in soccer, was allowed to pass, when it assisted a game winning goal, and one country's loss.

The unfortunate team was Ireland, and the victor was France. The unfortunate player at the centre of Ireland's ire was Henry Thierry. He is seen in the photo. Thierry has not disputed unintentionally touching the ball, which was lobbed to another French player who easily booted it in the Irish net. In fact, Thierry has even called for a rematch, as did Ireland. But FIFA's decision was final. There were no instant video replays, only what the referee had seen, and judged on at the time. This is FIFA's rule. However, incorrect the ref's decision, or however out of his eyesight the play had been, does not matter, only his immediate decision.

This does not seem like a fair call at a game with such high level stakes, and for an obvious goal based on a handball. It certainly left many Thierry-eyed fans on both teams.

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