The smear campaign against Thierry Henry
An unprecedented smear campaign has been mounted in recent days against Thierry Henry, the attacker for the French national team and FC Barcelona, who has hitherto been regarded as an impeccable sportsman and who is now to don the mantle of impure professional.
Ireland v France, an elimination duel for a place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa in a first and second leg. The French won the first leg 1-0 in Ireland, and in the second leg the equaliser came in extra time after a Thierry Henry assist to William Gallas – 1-1 – Ireland out, France on. But immediately afterwards there were protests from the Irish, which were absolutely justified. The wrong decision was quickly revealed thanks to modern television technology:
Thierry Henry had put the ball in front of him with his left hand immediately before the goal was scored in order to control it before the line-out, and he did so twice.
Apparently the view of the outraged media and football world: he should have gone to the referee immediately after the goal and explained to him that this goal was not correct. Just like every other player reports every own mistake immediately to the referee. No swallows, no obstructions, no missed penalties. Attempts at deception simply don’t exist. Yet that’s how it looks: Every day, all over the world, in every stadium and in every game, attempts are made to deceive the referee, to gain advantages for oneself and to defeat the opponent by any means. The supposedly complete set of rules ensures that there is an appropriate and correct penalty for every action. There is no mention of fair play.
Basically, once thrown in: Is it okay to try to cheat? If you have done one, do you have to report it? Does it make sense to ask players if and what they have done? That players discuss with the referee which is the correct match decision? Who saw and felt correctly? Should the spectators vote? Would there then be any need for a referee at all?
Henry’s action is being held up for the following reason: it was a game-changing action. It was an action that led to a goal. Actions that wrongly lead to a non-goal are never given much attention, no matter how obvious they are.
Last weekend alone, there were four match situations in the Bundesliga that led to a goal not being given, all of which the assembled experts could not make out why these goals were not given. That is, they were correct goals. Not recognised, simply disallowed, without justification – a disaster. No one crows about it any more. When Markus Merk recognised a Bremen goal against Dortmund a few years ago, which was later revealed to be irregular, he spoke of the worst mistake of the last 10 years. At the same time, he was responsible for 87 incorrect offside decisions and 25 not awarded penalties in the same period. Statistically, this could have resulted in about 55 possibly match-deciding goals in a single match. but all these mistakes are forgotten. Only the one counts. He probably almost revoked his own whistle licence, that’s how bad it was.
There are a lot of unanswered questions, but interestingly, there are also answers…