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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

No Suspension For Henry...But FIFA's Rules Look Ridiculous

It was to no-one's surprise at all that FIFA chose not to suspend Thierry Henry for the handball that saw France through to the World Cup Finals at the expense of the Republic of Ireland.

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee could not suspend Henry because handling the ball to help your team score is not a 'serious infringement' of the rules and therefore cannot be punishable by suspension.

Fair enough, you might say, until you look - like the Huffington Post's Gabriel A Feldman chose to do - at the FIFA Disciplinary Code itself.

Feldman notes the ill-conceived, inconsistent absurdities of the Code, pointing out that punching a player only merits a 2 match suspension, while spitting at an opponent gets you a 6 match suspension.

More pertinently, he observes that a one match ban will be imposed if a player is found "denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball."

Feldman asks the obvious question here: From the perspective of disciplining a player, is there a real difference between using your hand to score a goal versus using your hand to prevent a goal?

And, as usual, FIFA have no answers.

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posted by mark_s at 3:21 PM


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