The Sweeper: Justice and Football

Henry handball

Big Story

He did it, we all know he did it, some think it was normal, some think it was the devil’s work, and Ireland want a replay even though FIFA have already ruled it out.

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.

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7 thoughts on “The Sweeper: Justice and Football

  1. evan eleven

    yes football, like life, will never be completely fair, but we have the capablility to make it more fair, and the Henry Handball should be the last last straw. we need video correction NOW, if there’s enuff international outrage over this incident in the stadiums and on the internet maybe we can force FIFA’s hand before the worldcup next year. and if FIFA still refuses we in the USA should demand that MLS adopt this technology before the start of next season and show the rest of the world how it should be done…

  2. bud

    Henry deserves to never again to be able to walk onto an away pitch without being treated harshly. And if he dares come to the MLS, he can expect me to be coming over the wall after him when he comes to my city.

  3. Tom Dunmore Post author

    Jonathan — not sure about that, 23 years have passed since Maradona’s handball and that’s hardly been forgotten….Not that this was of the same magnitude, but not too far off either.

  4. Flanagan

    Me either. Just like I haven’t forgotten all the dives and last minute penalties that helped secure “The Invincibles” season.

    What I also won’t forget is Platini’s myriad, sprawling, child-like rationales about why the introduction of goal line technology will destroy this game we all love.

    Use it only to review controversial goals. A review team could’ve cancelled out that goal before the French had even finished celebrating. Period.

    It’s a scandal and a fucking disgrace. This is the World Cup we’re talking about, not a U12 youth tournament.

    Even as a Man United fan, I’ve always had great respect for Henry, unlike Pires and others he played with; however, it’s so obvious his 2 (!!!) handballs were completely intentional.

    The French were getting desperate. Anelka and others had flung themselves to the ground to earn free kicks and a peno. Etc and so on. It crept into Henry’s game–he’s guilty, no matter his disclaimers.

    As a side note, can anyone explain to me how Lassana Diarra wasn’t, at least, yellow carded in that match? I thought the ref was good at times, but overall he had, well, a fairly strange match.