This brings us, of course, to the tricky question of justice in football. Some point out there traditionally has rarely been any; and Fredoracci points out that football just has about as much justice as the rest of real life.
But here’s the dealio, campers, something you should have figured out a long time ago: this type of shit happens a lot — a lot — in sport. Sport disguises itself as life honed and concentrated, as a palace of justice in Lego, all instant judgements and inevitable punishments. It dissembles its true nature: that it’s just like the rest of the universe. As a matter of course, players will skirt the fringes of legality, and will sometimes cross the line: our guys, their guys, everydamnone’s eyes. You just have to hope that the arbiters can do their best. What Henry did was wrong. But to pick on this one incident as being somehow especially contemptible is to be wilfully blind to all the sport you’ve ever seen.
Still, no-one’s going to be buying Henry a Guinness any time soon, so perhaps the eternal scarring of his reputation is some small justice outside the lines.
- Elsewhere, Bosnians are despondent (“We lost a war, we lost the past, we have no future, no jobs and now our team hit the entire woodwork of the Portuguese goal here and in Lisbon but never scored,”), 15,000 riot police couldn’t prevent riots in Sudan after Algeria knocked out Egypt (what a goal!), and there is, of course, euphoria in Slovenia.
- Buried under all the World Cup qualifying furor was news from the AP that “German authorities and police elsewhere have arrested an undisclosed number of people suspected of fixing matches in major European football leagues.” 15 arrest warrants have been issued in ten countries, and quite honestly, the dangers of match-fixing are a much greater threat to the integrity of football than a handball.
- Conspiracy theories about FIFA aren’t helped by their refusal to set seeding-rules before they know which countries they will be seeding: they have not determined exactly how they will seed the World Cup finals, and will decide just days before the draw on December 4th.
- Matt Hughes looks at Chelsea’s “expensive error” as they attempt to skirt around the consequences of their impending transfer ban.
The Sweeper appears daily. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.