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Henry’s Handball

The final places at the 2010 world cup have been decided. 31 of the 32 teams present next summer can attend the tournament in the knowledge that they deserve to be there. One team does not have this luxury. France, or rather, Henry, stole a world cup place from the pocket of a battling Irish team on Wednesday night, who had arrived in Paris as underdogs and left as fallen heroes. The clamour for a replay is ludicrous, the calls for video technology less so.

Surely in such a modern game, with such high stakes and a nations dream on the line, the adoption of a video replay cannot be anything but absolutely necessary. In Rugby it works to great affect, delivering an answer in about 90 seconds. In tennis the hawk eye can tell the umpire within a split second whether or not the ball hit the line or missed.

Not only do I feel that this technology must be brought into use, I also feel that Thierry Henry must be retrospectively punished. I don’t care if it seems harsh, he deliberately handballed in order to keep the ball within play and cross to Gallas, who could hardly miss from two yards. This outrageous goal crushed Ireland’s valiant attempts to reach South Africa. But what was arguably even more proposterous is the fact that on Wednesday Henry stated “it was a handball, but I didnt do it deliberately”. He even repeated himself when pressed by a journalist. Yet today he is quoted as saying the following. “I had to exploit what could be exploited”. Or in everybody else’s terminology “I cheated because I could, and I got away with it”.

In order to send out a strong message to the cheats who adorn football, and an even stronger message to the children who idolise them, Henry must be banned for the group stages of the world cup next summer. Or else we face a situation where cheats thrive and children follow suite. Henry, your reputation will be forever tainted. Consequently your team must may the price.

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