Sunday, November 29, 2009

FIFA President breaks silence to support cheat Henry

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has revealed that he telephoned France captain Thierry Henry to offer him support over his controversial handball in the World Cup play-off win over Ireland.

"I called Thierry, because he tried to get in touch with me," Blatter told French newspaper L'Equipe.

"He was honest by admitting that he did use his hand, but it wasn't his responsibility to tell the referee.

"When I was a centre forward in my junior team, I definitely gained an advantage by pulling a defender's jersey in order to score a goal. And I didn't go and see the referee to tell him about it."

Blatter's remarks are incredible as he seems to be condoning cheating within the game & it certainly makes a mockery of FIFA's Fair Play code.

To quote Blatter prior to the start of the World Cup qualifying campaign - 'Fair play should come before anything else ... These qualifying matches must epitomise fair play. They should encapsulate the sporting, moral and ethical principles for which Fifa has always stood. And they must leave a lasting impression!".

Blatter's words sound very hollow considering he has basically said that cheating is fine as long as you don't get caught.

Its difficult to see how he can support Fair Play within the game on the one hand and on the other, ring the perpetrator of the cheating to console him and offer him his support.

Article one of the FIFA fair play code reads as follows : "Winning is without value if victory has been achieved unfairly or dishonestly. Cheating is easy, but brings no pleasure. Playing fair requires courage and character. It is also more satisfying. Fair play always has its reward, even when the game is lost. Playing fair earns respect, while cheating only brings shame. Remember: it is only a game. And games are pointless unless played fairly."

The Fifa president had previously refused to comment on the incident, prompting criticism from Football Association of Ireland (FAI) chief executive John Delaney.

France's play-off with Ireland was poised at 1-1 on aggregate in the second leg in Paris when Henry controlled the ball with his hand twice before teeing up William Gallas for the decisive goal,the linesman had a clear view of the Henry handball yet for some reason failed to make any signal to the referree about the act of blatant cheating by the French forward. The cheating incident sparked furious protests from the Irish players that were taken up by the Irish government.

The revelation that Blatter personally contacted Henry follows soon after the announcement by UEFA boss Michel Platini that the play-off's for the next European Qualifying Championships will be weighted heavily in favour of the bigger nations, with the play-off draw being seeded and the teams offered the chance to play the second leg at home.

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