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Graham Poll was explaining this on this news yesterday. The last replay in Bahrain was because of an error in law i.e. the referee saw an incident and made completely the wrong decision, not because he didn't see it properly but because he didn't know the laws of the game properly! Now, you might argue from a players and fans point of view there's little difference, but there is a difference which is why claims of hypocricy are taking things too far. There is no precedent for a missed incident causing a replay of a game.

FIFA's biggest error was seeding the play-offs. On that issue, I am annoyed with them and because of that they certainly can be accused of favouring bigger teams when circumstances don't warrent it. On the handball incident, on the other hand, the blame lies mostly with Henry and partially with the officials for missing it. FIFA have no recourse to replay a game under those circumstances.

What if, as I said in my last post, France were awarded a dubious penalty for a 50/50 challenge and earnt their 1-1 draw that way instead? Would everyone be calling for a replay then? No, of course they wouldn't, because those things happen in football. What if the score was 2-0 to Ireland and Ireland's second goal had come from a dubious penalty? Would people be calling for a replay then? Of course they wouldn't, and those sort of things happen often in games. The only thing that was different about Wednesday was the nature of the infraction that was missed, and if you're going to start making value judgements on which games should and shouldn't be replayed on that basis, we're going to open up a whole new set of questions. Why were Man Utd awarded a replay for a missed foul and Wigan weren't etc etc? "Well, the FA obviously favours the bigger teams etc etc". And so it goes on ad infinitum.

You have to draw the line somewhere and saying the referee's decision is final, so long as he hasn't made a vital error in law seems perfectly sensible.

Henry deserves to be villified wherever he goes, and deserves a two or three match ban from the world cup. He is the antagonist in this, not FIFA. He's the one who cheated and caused this minor diplomatic incident, and he's the one who deserves a punishment.

Great post RobH. That's exactly the point. A match can only be cancelled if the referee made the wrong call, like awarding a free kick for a handball inside the box, provided that he considers that it was inside the box. The other case is if one proves that the match was fixed, which will be very difficult even if it was. Besides, that play is very easy to call from a TV camera placed on the top of the stadium in slow motion. I don't think it would be that easy to see it with a lot of people inside the box and looking from the pitch level.

By the way, if this match is going to be replayed, than we should dig all previous matches that both Ireland and France played. We would probably find a lot of mistakes that might have changed the outcome of the match, including other iligal goals from offside plays. So, it is pointless, the referee made a mistake. It happens.

I just don't agree that Henry should be punished and I think he will not be. The reason is that court judgements in football are an extension of the rules of play. According to FIFA recommendation, the punishment for an intentional handball is a yellow card. So, unless he received a yellow card in that match, he cannot be punished further. If he got a yellow card, one can kind of bend the rules to say the he would be sent off and get suspended for 1 match.

However, who will probably take the fall is the referee. He might be suspended from important matches or even be excluded of the WC, if pre-selected. FIFA will analyse where he was, to check if his positioning was according to recommendations for a free kick.

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Great post RobH. That's exactly the point. A match can only be cancelled if the referee made the wrong call, like awarding a free kick for a handball inside the box, provided that he considers that it was inside the box. The other case is if one proves that the match was fixed, which will be very difficult even if it was. Besides, that play is very easy to call from a TV camera placed on the top of the stadium in slow motion. I don't think it would be that easy to see it with a lot of people inside the box and looking from the pitch level.

By the way, if this match is going to be replayed, than we should dig all previous matches that both Ireland and France played. We would probably find a lot of mistakes that might have changed the outcome of the match, including other iligal goals from offside plays. So, it is pointless, the referee made a mistake. It happens.

I just don't agree that Henry should be punished and I think he will not be. The reason is that court judgements in football are an extension of the rules of play. According to FIFA recommendation, the punishment for an intentional handball is a yellow card. So, unless he received a yellow card in that match, he cannot be punished further. If he got a yellow card, one can kind of bend the rules to say the he would be sent off and get suspended for 1 match.

However, who will probably take the fall is the referee. He might be suspended from important matches or even be excluded of the WC, if pre-selected. FIFA will analyse where he was, to check if his positioning was according to recommendations for a free kick.

Trade him to figure skating!

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Published: 12:46PM GMT 20 Nov 2009

Referee Martin Hansson says 'I hope I will survive this' after handball error costs Ireland

Centre of attention: Martin Hansson missed Thierry Henry handling ball

Hansson failed to spot Henry's blatant cheating in the build-up to William Gallas' equaliser on the night which enabled France to go through 2-1 on aggregate.

Hansson has since been widely condemned for his mistake but he is hoping to put the incident behind him.

He told Swedish regional radio channel Radio Blekinge: "I cannot comment on the game itself but life must go on and I hope I will survive this too."

Reports have suggested Hansson will still make FIifa's list for next summer's World Cup finals in South Africa.

"Really? Has it been in the evening papers? Well, then it has to be true, hasn't it?" he said with a hint of sarcasm.

Hansson has certainly not received any support in his homeland with leading newspaper Aftonbladet yesterday leading the chorus of disapproval.

Their story said: "There are millions of Irishmen around the world. We guarantee they all feel pretty bad today.

"But I sincerely hope there are three Swedes that feel even worse.

"They are Martin Hansson and (referee's assistants) Stefan Wittberg and Fredrik Nilsson."

They concluded by adding: "There will be no World Cup for Ireland and I assume that Team Hansson has also forfeited it's right to continue to take charge of major international matches.

"Anything else would be a further insult to the Irish nation."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/...ts-Ireland.html

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Graham Poll was explaining this on this news yesterday. The last replay in Bahrain was because of an error in law i.e. the referee saw an incident and made completely the wrong decision, not because he didn't see it properly but because he didn't know the laws of the game properly! Now, you might argue from a players and fans point of view there's little difference, but there is a difference which is why claims of hypocricy are taking things too far. There is no precedent for a missed incident causing a replay of a game.

FIFA's biggest error was seeding the play-offs. On that issue, I am annoyed with them and because of that they certainly can be accused of favouring bigger teams when circumstances don't warrent it. On the handball incident, on the other hand, the blame lies mostly with Henry and partially with the officials for missing it. FIFA have no recourse to replay a game under those circumstances.

What if, as I said in my last post, France were awarded a dubious penalty for a 50/50 challenge and earnt their 1-1 draw that way instead? Would everyone be calling for a replay then? No, of course they wouldn't, because those things happen in football. What if the score was 2-0 to Ireland and Ireland's second goal had come from a dubious penalty? Would people be calling for a replay then? Of course they wouldn't, and those sort of things happen often in games. The only thing that was different about Wednesday was the nature of the infraction that was missed, and if you're going to start making value judgements on which games should and shouldn't be replayed on that basis, we're going to open up a whole new set of questions. Why were Man Utd awarded a replay for a missed foul and Wigan weren't etc etc? "Well, the FA obviously favours the bigger teams etc etc". And so it goes on ad infinitum.

You have to draw the line somewhere and saying the referee's decision is final, so long as he hasn't made a vital error in law seems perfectly sensible.

Henry deserves to be villified wherever he goes, and deserves a two or three match ban from the world cup. He is the antagonist in this, not FIFA. He's the one who cheated and caused this minor diplomatic incident, and he's the one who deserves a punishment.

very well said Rob - the only alternative is to introduce a referee, who watchs the TV-pic and is able to intervene into the decisions of the referee on the field - but that would change the character of football extremely!!

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All 7 World Champions are in. By the order in which they joined the club:

- Uruguay (1930 and 1950)

- Italy (1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006)

- Germany (1954, 1974 and 1990)

- Brazil (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002)

- England (1966)

- Argentina (1978 and 1986)

- France (1998)

Some interesting facts about them:

- All WC winners have hosted the event, with Germany, France and Italy hosting twice.

- All of them joined the club when playing at home, except for Brazil (Sweden 1959) and Germany (Switzerland 1954).

- No European country has ever won the WC outside the UEFA counstries, but the Soth Americans have won in all continents where the WC has travelled (Sweden 1958, Mexico 1970, Mexico 1986, USA 1994 and Korea/Japan 2002), including 2 outside the Americas both won by Brazil, being 1 in Europe.

- Until 1990, Brazil was the only of the champions not to have won the WC at home. Then Italy lost it in 1990 and Germany in 2006. France joined the club in 1998, being automatically added to this group by having failed to clinch the trophy in 1938. Brazil remains as the only one of them never to have won at home.

- Those countries have not only won all WC, but they have been keeping a monopoly of the spots in the final match. Since 1982, the final matches was played by a combination of those 5 of those 7 teams (Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Germany and France). Since 1966, the Netherlands is the only team never to have won the WC to play the final match. Before that it other 3 teams also broke this tight club Hungary (1938 and 1954), Czechoslovakia (1934 and 1962) and Sweden (1958).

- England is the team with the least final match appearances (1 in 1966) followed by Uruguay (1930 and 1950) and France (1998 and 2006) with 2.

- Brazil and Germany hold the record for final match appearances with 7 each, followed by Italy with 6 and Argentina with 4.

- Uruguay and England have never lost the final match of the WC.

- Germany is the only of the 7 to have lost more final matches (4) than won (3). France and Argentina lost as many finals as they have won.

- Brazil was the only of the 7 to have lost the final match at home in 1950.

- Argentina is the only of the WC winners never to have finished in either 3rd or 4th.

So, the WC Champions is a very exclusive club. It has been having a monopoly of the WC final matches and they seem unwilling to give up another seat. Entrance was given in the early years, with 5 new entrants in the first 8 tournaments and another one in the 11th WC. Since then, 20 years passed before they let another one in.

People talk about Spain... Well it is possible. But I would prefer to bet in one of the members of the G-7 up there.

As you said, A, it will always be from the traditional powers because it is deeply ingrained in those cultures. So in a way that makes it predictable and boring. Now, if they just pulled lots out of a hat to determine the winner, then I think that would make involve greater numbers of interest and make the WHOLE CUP MORE EXCITING and unpredictable. But that's just me!! :)

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As you said, A, it will always be from the traditional powers because it is deeply ingrained in those cultures. So in a way that makes it predictable and boring. Now, if they just pulled lots out of a hat to determine the winner, then I think that would make involve greater numbers of interest and make the WHOLE CUP MORE EXCITING and unpredictable. But that's just me!! :)

You are right, it's mostly just you...

I also don't find football super exiting, but some sources says that the World Cups are more popular that Olympic Games and out of this "G7" of winners, Brazil is the country with the biggest population (nearly 200 million). We all know that probably the next WC winner will come from this group, but tha whole world still watches it...

Even though I hate FIFA's procedures, they must be doing something right to market football, aren't they?

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We all know that probably the next WC winner will come from this group, but tha whole world still watches it...

well, what's the choice? NOT to watch it. Still even tho you're not from one of the 2 finalist countries, you're stuck with the same old 2. So might as well make it a wild draw. Instead of the prelims involving 12 venues....just draw the winners out a hat for the prelms, and immediately go to the quarters...that'll make it a more hotly contested tournament I think..rather than just the usual G7 nations.

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I have to say that, on the Ireland-France game, its probably unfair to blame the referee. I mean, the ref had quite a few players (not to forget that Henry himself was position in a way that shielded the ball from the ref) between himself and the ball, and the assistant was on the opposite side of the action. Unless you where sitting right behind the goal that was an extremely hard foul to catch. The worst referring mistake on the play was not to call offside...

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As a former referee myself it always made me laugh that I was supposed to have X-ray vision to see through all the bodies out there. Some people just don't realize that you can't see verything out there, you just have to try to have the proper position at all times but in a fluid game like this that just isn't possible.

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As far as the comments about the predictable outcomes. That used to bother me but now I take the opinion that what does it matter who wins it in the end, it's still a truly enjoyable sporting spectacle that probably brings the world together even better than the Olympic Games. For all the talk about Olympic truces, have they ever really worked (in modern times that is)? Yet in 1994 when the war was raging in Sarajevo, I read stories that the time they people really felt safe to come out of hiding was when the matches were going on because the combatants were too busy paying attention to the broadcasts on the radio and the only time you heard gunfire was when Bulgaria scored as that was the team most of them were pulling for. We had to postpone a military action in Haiti that same year because the people were too busy watching the matches to care what was going on with their own government. These are just a couple of examples of the power this event has over people. One comment I read the other day on the FIFA matchcast summed it up. "Days like this are why football owns us." That would make me a slave to football and I'm not looking to be emancipated anytime soon.

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FIFA President calls extraordinary meeting of FIFA Executive Committee

(FIFA.com) Monday 23 November 2009

Due to recent events in the world of football, namely incidents at the play-offs for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, match control (refereeing) and irregularities in the football betting market, the FIFA President has called an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee.

The extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee will take place in Cape Town on 2 December 2009, starting at 15.00.

http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/federation/b...utive+committee

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I find it disgusting that anyone can blame the referee. They do the best they can, in most instances.

Henry should be ashamed with himself that he can knowingly cheat and then celebrate the goal....and before anyone asks, no I wouldn't have done the same had I been in the same position.

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Fifa to debate extra officials in wake of handball row

By Mark Fleming

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

FIFA is to discuss the possibility using two extra match officials at the World Cup in the aftermath of Thierry Henry's handball that helped France beat Ireland to a place in South Africa next summer.

Henry may also face a one or two-game ban at an extraordinary meeting of the executive committee of world football's governing body in South Africa a week tomorrow, two days before the draw for the finals.

Fifa will consider the practicalities of introducing the "additional assistant referees", who patrol the area behind the goal and to the goalkeeper's right. The idea of adding two extra officials has been used on an experimental basis in the Europe League this season, with mixed results.

The scheme is the idea of the Uefa president, Michel Platini, who believes it will deter diving and other forms of cheating in the penalty areas. Senior Fifa figures believe an "additional assistant referee" would have spotted Henry's handball in the qualifying play-off last week and the goal, scored by William Gallas, would not have stood. Fifa is known to favour greater human intervention rather than the introduction of video technology as it believes this would slow the game.

The Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, yesterday called the EGM, which will also discuss the hundreds of arrests across nine countries by officers investigating corruption and gambling in football as well as the crowd violence at last week's African play-off between Egypt and Algeria.

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/footbal...ow-1826488.html

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I way add one or two assistant behind the goal line that are in constant communication whit the ref and can report any foul or dive happening in the penalty area.

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This is getting silly now:

Republic of Ireland ask for extra 2010 World Cup place

Fifa's Sepp Blatter has revealed the Republic of Ireland have requested a spot in the 2010 World Cup finals as an extra team after their play-off defeat.

The Republic lost to an extra-time goal against France when Thierry Henry handled the ball during the build-up.

"I will bring it to the attention of the Executive Committee," said Blatter....

...Regarding the Republic's case, Blatter added that Costa Rica, who also believe they were unfairly denied a place in the finals - this time because of an offside goal from Uruguay - would also have to be acknowledged if extra places are discussed.

The Football Association of Ireland released a statement, confirming Blatter had agreed to a meeting in Zurich last Friday, which lasted for 90 minutes.

"A lot was discussed at the meeting and at one stage the FAI asked if Ireland could be accommodated into the World Cup 2010," the statement revealed.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/i...als/8386207.stm

Although, watching the news conference, the tone of Blatter's voice suggested they've got no chance. He also brought up the possibility of extra officials and/or goalline technology.

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/\ It sounds legitimate to me. Ireland was cheated of a fair chance to play. I don't buy this 'dem are the breaks sometimes' arguments. No, this is something that happens on the world stage once every 4 years. As a dues-paying member, Ireland has every right to a shot at a legitimate goal - to use a pun.

No replays were to be done...so this appears to me to be a valid venue for legitimacy and fairness. Screw the 32-team limit. It's the stupid, outdated rule of no replays that created the problem. Time to stop this "interrupts the flow of the game" BS. What is more important? The flow of a flawed, dishonest game or a legitimate, honest but interrupted game? And when it comes down to the shoot-outs...all of that is already interrupted play, so why not interrupt the 'flow of the game' earlier when it would be appropriate to address the fouls?

The game needs changing to attract even newer fans like me who do not feel bound by its age-old norms.

Since FIFA didn't play fair, let them deal with sorting out extra places. If they put Ireland with France, betcha that would be among the top 2 or 3 watched elims. It's time for a shake-up. FIFA and the game will survive.

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It is not going to happen. A group with 5 teams would be unfair to the others and would demand 4 extra matches, besides all the schedule and ticket selling would have to be reviewed. It is a lot more complicated than just adding a team.

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It is not going to happen. A group with 5 teams would be unfair to the others and would demand 4 extra matches, besides all the schedule and ticket selling would have to be reviewed. It is a lot more complicated than just adding a team.

I know it's not. But it still makes a sham of the moral underpinnings of the whole thing.

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