Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blown Karma

Since college football has such blah match-ups today--- the top teams are all gigantic favorites against teams like Florida International and Tennessee Chattanooga while the Michigan/Ohio State game will determine nothing except local bragging rights--- I guess today is a germane time to talk about a different kind of football. As in futbol.

While we Americans are knee deep in BCS madness and NFL playoff runs, the rest of the world is watching the World Cup qualifying games. One such game just took place between Ireland and France this past week. On the line was an invitation to the World Cup tournament next year.

As Irish luck would have it, France won. But not without major controversy. French super striker Thierry Henry set up a game tying goal for his team as he's done so many times. Unlike the other times, Henry blatantly used his hand to pass the ball. That's a no no.

Somehow, the refs missed this call. The goal stood and the game ended in a 1-1 draw which sent France into the tournament and the Irish home with a bitter taste that all the Guinness on the island couldn't remove.

Ireland officially appealed the goal and even asked France to replay the game to make sure things ended properly. France naturally declined which left the Irish with little other recourse than to call foul on the whole situation.

Irish football CEO John Delaney asserted that "without doubt, the credibility of fair play has been damaged by this incident in front of a worldwide audience." The goal definitely shouldn't have counted, but does everyone think that the credibility really suffered? After all, we've seen missed calls in every sport and very few seem to withstand the test of time except with the fans who were wronged.

Many sports fans just accept blown calls as part of the game and that karma will eventually even things out. It's a nice, easy, cut and dry way to deal with a situation. Unless, of course, your team is the one that got screwed. One thing is certain, Irish eyes as well as everyone else's in the soccer world will cast a skeptical view upon the French come tournament time next year. Don't expect a bailout.

1 comment:

  1. The human element of officiating is just part of the game. Oh wait, I'm not a sanctimonious baseball purist. It's called instant replay, people. And I don't buy the whole it-slows-down-the-game argument. 1) What? You got better things to do? Is the game occurring in the short window of time between your helping out at the food bank and your working on a cure for cancer? (If yes, I am sorry and applaud you) and 2) In this case, it's soccer - believe it or not, this game gets a little slow at times, anyway.