The Irish Justice Minister demanded a rematch today after a blatant Thierry Henry handball put France into the finals of the World Cup.
Dermot Ahern, a passionate football fan, called for the sport’s world governing body, Fifa, to be called to account in the interests of fair play.
“They probably won’t grant it as we are minnows in world football but let’s put them on the spot,” said Mr Ahern, the former Irish foreign minister.
“It’s the least we owe the thousands of devastated young fans around the country. Otherwise, if that result remains, it reinforces the view that if you cheat, you will win.”
But here is the real deal.
The contribution of the officials and governing bodies does nothing to try and retain the concept of fair play anymore than do the players. Last night the referee denied Anelka his bid for a penalty, deeming that the player had dived. That is also cheating, but there was no sanction against the player, not even a yellow card, yet had the officials been fooled or in the wrong place for that incident too, the goal-keeper would have been sent off. The less said about Henry and his uncontrollable hand the better, shame about his reputation.
So long as people continue to consider soccer to be sport and soccer players to be sportsmen, they will continue to be disappointed. It’s business and big business at that.