Henry gets World Cup reprieve

Be honest, who really expected Thierry Henry to be punished for his handball exploits during the now infamous France - Ireland World Cup 2010 play off? Only the most gullible fool with no idea of how these things work could imagine football’s governing body would open this can of worms again. Blatter and Co. just want the whole thing to go away so they can safely holiday in Galway without being pestered by irate fans waving papier mache moral compensation awards in some supposedly ironic gesture.

This piece in The Guardian does a good job of exposing just how much of a muddle FIFA is in on this issue. While Article 77a of the Disciplinary Code invokes the disciplinary committee to take action after “serious infringements which have escaped the match officials' attention”, FIFA chooses to ignore its own code. Oddly, this may be because Article 47 of the code “covers handballs intended to deny a goal, but not those involved in creating one”.

Elsewhere, The Independent says the decision echoes FIFA’s actions since November. At the time special meetings were convened and lots of radical suggestions were mooted, but it was all hot air. In reality, the status quo was never seriously under threat.

Obviously most fair-minded people still have a residue of sympathy for the Irish despite their incessant moaning. However, when defender Sean St Ledger comes out with gems like this you have to wonder whether he will ever be able to draw a line under the affair and just shut up. His comments in today’s Times suggest he has an unhealthy obsession with the French. I think he secretly wants the French to win the World Cup just so he can carry on complaining.

Good to see how the campaigning power of an obscure blog has forced organisers in South Africa to change the way tickets are sold. Days after the issue was raised here it seems moves are afoot to allow locals who don’t have internet access or bank accounts the chance to get their hands on tickets. Just in case any corporate giants are reading this, I think your failure to hand over match tickets and flight/accommodation packages to the writers of blogs entitled World Cup Bafana Bafana 2010 is outrageous. You should make amends immediately by contacting me with details of my itinerary in June and July.

Here in the UK we once had a TV programme called Crimewatch. The idea was very simple. Law abiding citizens phoned in with information about potential criminals before “reconstructions” of crimes using actors were unveiled. The host spent most of the time looking sombre when really you knew he wanted to hold up a board on which would be written in red pen the words “They’re coming to get you”. South African criminals appear to do things differently, if this report is any guide. The idea of being played by amateur actors is not for them. Instead, these guys go on TV and talk about their plans to rob and kill tourists during the World Cup. “Don’t have nightmares,” as the Crimewatch host used to say at the end of the show.

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