FIFA Won’t Punish Thierry Henry for Handball
Thierry Henry will not be punished by FIFA for his handball against Ireland in last November’s World Cup 2010 playoff. He won’t be suspended, sanctioned or even sent to his room without supper.
For those unfamiliar with the incident… where’ve you been? Back in November 2009, Thierry Henry was Public Enemy Numéro Un for committing a blatant handball France for World Cup 2010 at Ireland’s expense. Click here and relive the moment if needed.
There were calls for a France vs Ireland replay, and even a bizarre request that Ireland be included in World Cup 2010 as the 33rd team. FIFA said no to both. Some thought maybe FIFA would punish Henry individually, but here’s what they decided yesterday:
“The Disciplinary Committee reached the conclusion that there was no legal foundation for the committee to consider the case because handling the ball cannot be regarded as a serious infringement as stipulated in article 77a of the FIFA Disciplinary Code. There is no other legal text that would allow the committee to impose sanctions for any incidents missed by match officials.”
All of which means Thierry Henry will be at World Cup 2010 and will be free to play for France. I’m sure some people will be outraged by that. But let’s take a step back for a second.
I know this was the biggest news in the history of the universe at the time, but all Thierry Henry did was commit a handball offence that the ref missed. He’s not the first person to do it, and he won’t be the last. The incident was magnified to many times over because of the circumstances (World Cup qualification at stake and all that) and that possibly leads some to expect a serious punishment for Henry.
But again, it was just a handball. If the referee had caught Henry doing it, it might have been a yellow. It wouldn’t have been a ban or a fine or anything of the sort. Which is why it’s perfectly fair for Henry to escape punishment now. If anything, Henry’s real punishment is that he’s a little less loved by the average football fan than he used to be. Which is far worse than having to sit out a World Cup match or pay a fine.