dimanche 22 novembre 2009

"Lachez la grappe à Henry"

Ireland v. Georgia, February 11, 2009
World Cup Qualifying Match
Croke Park, Ireland

Referee -- Jouni Hyytia

Perhaps the wearers of the green do protest a mite too much.

Pay particular attention to the replay at 1:21. You can see that the ball, rebounding off the chest of an Irish team player, appears to touch the Georgian player Ucha Lobjanidze's shoulder as he is actually possibly pulling back to avoid it. The offsides flag has already, in any case, been raised.

From Le Monde, November 21, 2009:
Le 11 février 2009, l'Irlande s'impose dans un match décisif lors des qualifications. Menée 1-0 à 20 minutes de la fin par les Georgiens, les Irlandais bénéficient alors d'un penalty pour le moins surprenant. Une erreur d'arbitrage, comme tant d'autres, et qui n'avait alors soulevé aucune vague d'indignation. Même Roy Keane, ancien capitaine de l'Eire, a rappelé que ce fait de jeu avait été "une des pires décisions qui ait jamais changé le cours d'un match. Je ne me souviens pas avoir entendu la Fédération irlandaise demander que le match soit rejoué."

Translation: February 11, 2009, Ireland won their qualifying match. Behind Georgia 1-0 with only 20 minutes left to ply, Ireland gets a hand from a penalty, at the very least quite surprising. It was a referee error like so many others that drew no wave of indignation. Even Roy Keane, the former Irish team captain, recalled this instance as having been "one of the worst decisions ever to have changed the course of a match. I don't recall having heard the Irish Federation demand that the match be replayed."

And here is what Ireland's present captain, Robbie Keane, had to say about the questionable penalty called against Georgia in ESPN's Soccernet post-game report:
Keane insisted he did not see the penalty decision, where Ucha Lobjanidze was penalised for handball when the ball appeared to hit his shoulder with the flag up for offside anyway.

''I didn't see that incident,'' he continued. ''I was facing the other way. If it wasn't then sometimes you need a bit of luck. We kept pushing on and I think we deserved it in the end.''


Where are the calls to replay this game for a rotten call by the referee that disadvantaged Georgia and eventually sent the Republic of Ireland on to qualify in the World Cup competition? Where were the petitions and who heard any hollering? One could make a blog dedicated to referee errors, so I'm with the Le Monde reader, who put it this way:
lachez la grappe à Henry. Soyez utile, ecrivez à la FIFA pour qu'il change les méthodes d'arbitrage.

Translation: "leave Henry alone. Make yourself useful, write to FIFA to demand that they change the methods of refereeing."

If you care enough to demand that this last game be replayed, and if you know enough about soccer to understand why this can happen, write to FIFA and tell them its time to introduce video into the referees' decisions. I just did.

Here's the address:

Fédération Internationale de Football Association

FIFA-Strasse 20,
P.O. Box 8044 Zurich, Switzerland
Tel : +41-(0)43 222 7777
Fax : +41-(0)43 222 7878

email: http://www.fifa.com/contact/form.html

That's what's needed, and until it's done, well, that's soccer.
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