Connect with us


Re-Playing Around

Henry Handball

Okay okay, I guess I have to write something about this Thierry Henry hand ball or something. Here is the obligatory (and slightly sarcastic) background info already reported: The World Cup playoffs are seeded, seemingly hurting the minnows like Republic of Ireland. Then, Ireland are given an away game in Paris for the second leg, presumably giving them yet another disadvantage. Next, after leveling the score, LeBron Henry throws the ball to William Gallas, who promptly scores the winning goal. Upon said goal, Shay Given has a cow directly on the referee’s head while all of Paris celebrates. After the game, Thierry Henry and Richard Dunne spoon in the middle of the field and cry away their sorrows.

Now that all that mess is over, I will say this: I still cannot support in-match video re-play…at this point. To me, video re-play is a never-ending snowball that would ruin the sport. I admit it is very tempting and yes, it would only take “30 seconds” for a re-play official to call Henry’s goal back. But, seriously people, professional footballers are a whiney bunch and it wouldn’t take too long before every whistle blow was questioned. Yes, re-play would have definitely helped in this situation but it comes with some serious strings attached. I guess my question to you is this: When will it stop? The only way re-play is acceptable, I suppose, would be to somehow limit its use during a match. But then wouldn’t we be arguing over how much and when it could be used? And at some point wouldn’t we be saying we should use it more (or less) and for different situations? These are questions I would need answered before I could support in-match re-play.

Having said all that, and pissing half of you off, I’m sure, in the process, I will say that I am in favor of actual re-play…as in re-playing the entire match. I am in favor of FIFA looking at the re-play and saying “we screwed that one up and we’re going to do it over.” If France is so good (which they are not) then they can beat Ireland again and what’s the problem with that? FIFA will say that it would be hard to organize a match on such short notice and that it would be a logistical nightmare. Perhaps they should get used to that since nobody seems to be impressed with the “logistics” in South Africa at the moment.

So, in summation, I hold these truths to be self-evident: that Thierry Henry handled the ball and changed the outcome of the match; that Ireland were robbed; that the referees should have seen it; that re-play would have definitely helped in this situation; that re-play brings with it some serious baggage.

All I’m saying is this: Before we all go screaming that we want in-match video re-play, let’s just stop and debate/think about/consider the baggage that would surely come with the introduction of this technology. Feel free to state your case in the comments below!

200+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
  • Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
  • Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
  • Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
  • Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
  • Price: $4.99/mo
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more


  1. Jorge Curioso

    November 19, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Fully agree. Replays and match stoppages make American Football and Basketball unwatchable. It would hurt soccer immensely to add this.

    What does need to happen is that cheaters need to be severely punished after the fact, and if the team has benefitted, it needs to be punished, also.

    Henry should be banned for a year, and France should be disqualified from the World Cup.

    • AtlantaPompey

      November 19, 2009 at 8:40 pm

      I disagree that France should be disqualified because the match stood 1-1 on aggregate at the point of the handball. The match should be replayed as if it ended 1-1 rather than punishing an entire team for the actions of one player.

  2. JLay

    November 19, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    As I see it, we can go one of two routes:

    1) Limited video replay. Play is already stopped when a goal is scored or a penalty / foul is called, so limit it to that. If the goal is overturned, the cheat is booked if the offense is deemed intentional and the defending team gets a goal kick. This sort of policy would resolve the most egregious / game-changing errors and would hardly affect the flow of the game at all.

    2) Post-match video review with draconian suspensions or fines for diving, intentional handballs, and dangerous / violent conduct. Affected games should be replayed and the offending player should be suspended at least 5 games.

    Cheating is a widespread issue because players know that they can get away with it. If they knew there would be serious repercussions for their actions, it would disappear. Simple as that!

  3. AtlantaPompey

    November 19, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    “But, seriously people, professional footballers are a whiney bunch and it wouldn’t take too long before every whistle blow was questioned.”

    Don’t they do that anyway? I see that in every sport. Think Serena Williams at the US Open. Every single passing opportunity in the NFL someone is calling for a flag to be thrown. Pitchers and hitters both gripe about balls and strikes in baseball. Griping is everywhere. It’s terrible sportsmanship, but it’s too widespread.

    A match official in the booth with a video monitor could have signaled to the ref that the goal was disallowed in less time than it took Shay Given to run out to the ref to complain. Video replay would not have slowed this match down at all. Could it others? Only if it’s allowed to abused. Set up simple rules about what it can be used for and stick to those rules.

    Everybody is mentioning that Henry admitted after the match that he handled the ball and applauding him for his honesty. The real honesty would have been for him not to celebrate after the goal. He ran around acting like he had not done anything wrong when he knew he had. Shameful. When even France’s own supporters are embarrassed then you know it was poor.

    I will wear my Ireland jersey to the pub for all three of France’s group stage defeats next June. Maybe they can match their goal-less futility from 2002. Justice warrants that.

    • The Gaffer

      November 19, 2009 at 9:56 pm

      Paul, I agree that France deserves to do poorly in the World Cup next year based on karma alone, but knowing them I wouldn’t be surprised if they make it far in the tournament and even possibly win it — no matter how poor they’re doing at the moment. They have the quality to succeed if they can figure out a way to play together to the utmost of their potential.

      The Gaffer

      • AtlantaPompey

        November 20, 2009 at 8:53 am

        Domenech demonstrated that they can advance in the tournament, but his team lacks the organization it had in 2006. Missing Zidane is important, but not the only reason. He was there in 2002 and they were a mess. I don’t think they will find that winning formula.

  4. F1Mikal

    November 19, 2009 at 5:38 pm


    I am against replay (per se) also, definitely would ruin the game. BUT if we/the world of football could possibly grasp the idea of the ‘challenge’ to a call.
    Imagine: during each half teams could have the opportunity to ‘challenge’ 2 calls…if you are wrong you lose your challenge, if you are correct, you don’t.

    I seems too simple for FIFA to grasp right?

    my 2p

  5. PhilipMumbles

    November 19, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Bottom line is that if a player knows video can be used in the game and that they can actually be penalized for diving, handling, etc. it will cut down on the amount of time wasting and inevitable Cr$p refs would have to waste their time dealing with.

    • Matthew N

      November 19, 2009 at 6:50 pm

      Yep, you hit the nail on the head. FIFA actually has to do something about injustice or else players will keep diving, etc.

  6. Schmagurty

    November 19, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    The solution: copy the NHL. They put officials behind each goal to determine whether or not a goal should be counted. Or, there could be cameras and the officials could sit up in a booth and use radio communications to the on-field officials.

    However it’s done, there should be an extra set of eyes on all play that occurs in the box when play leads to a goal. Surely an offical whose sole job is to watch these specific areas of the pitch and goal scoring instances would have surely caught the hand ball and waived off the goal WITHOUT using replay. It could have been seen in real time from a camera or from a perspective at the end of the field.

  7. hal

    November 19, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    In lieu of video replay, you’ve got to have endline refs. Henry’s handball, N’Gog’s dive, both happened on the backside of the CR’s position. Players know the CR’s view is limited from that vantage point, especially with the majority of players flying around in the box at that moment, and can take advantage of that situation.

    It would then relieve the ARs from having to split their attention between determining offside and looking for any fouls/diving/handballs around the backline.

  8. sam

    November 19, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    and if blatter doesnt do anything, he needs to be impeached, he is te most biased person ive ever seen, france might not qualify, seed the playoffs, theye still might not pay off the refs GOD DAMN HIS FAT ASS AND PLATINI, THEY ARE SO CORRUPT!!!!!!

  9. ovalball

    November 19, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    I would like to see some sort of limited video review. Rugby seems to have got it right. It would take some work, but it can be done.

    In the meantime there is absolutely no excuse for not having goal-end assistants. Who knows, their presence may make the whole video debate largely moot.

    Can we tell at this point if it is “working” in Europa?

  10. The Guvnah

    November 19, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Get off your knees ref, you are blowing a good game.

    I cant seem to grasp why a thin semi-metallic thread cant be used somewhere in the ball’s composition to act as a trigger when it crosses the goal line, or any touchline. Nike can make a ball with a bloody pump inside of it, they can surely update a fricking soccerball. When millions of dollars hangs in the balance, video replay should always be used.

    The NHL reviews every goal in Toronto. I’ve never seen a game suspended more than 3 minutes for an official goal review.

    This all being said, France cheated. Henry is an admitted cheat, and Ireland got bent over by the bigest puss nation in Europe.

    Glad it wasnt the US.

    • The Gaffer

      November 19, 2009 at 3:30 pm

      Adidas and other companies have developed technology such as a microchip in the ball as well as hawkeye technology, but FIFA has thumbed its noses at bringing it into the game.

      As long as Sepp Blatter is in power, I don’t see FIFA changing its policy on not using technology.

      The Gaffer

      • The Guvnah

        November 19, 2009 at 4:01 pm

        What about domestic leagues opting to use this type of technology? Why wouldnt the MLS say “you know FIFA, we appreciate your stance, but we are going to get with the times and use sensor technology.”

        At the very minimum, they could use it like that dumb Fox puck tracker and enhance viewing for TV audiences. It wouldnt impact the sport or its play, but it would give television viewers something extra. They already tell us how many kilometers a player runs… useless information, so what’s wrong with in-play/over-the-line?

  11. Grant

    November 19, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    You can only have replay on factual calls, like whether the ball crossed the line. That’s the way it is done in every other sport that has replay. So even if you had replay, it wouldn’t have been used in this case.

    That’s because everything else is a judgement call. As much as we talk about how blatant the handball was, we have to remember that if the ball plays the man and there is no advantage for that player, it is not handball. Even though this clearly benefited Henry and France, it is still a judgement call.

    No matter how blatant they might be in violation of the guidelines described in the rule book, the following calls will not be reviewable EVER:

    Pass interference, holding, etc. in American football.
    Balls and strikes in baseball.
    Fouls in basketball.
    Penalties in hockey.
    Handballs, dives, and fouls in football.

    The argument that football would be ruined by replay is ridiculous, and it is the same argument that was made when replay was reduced in every of the above sports. Miraculously, those sports persist, as would football. If anything it would save us the five minutes of screaming and yelling at the ref that invariably happens when there are controversies like this.

    What is silly is that we don’t have officials closer than 20 yards from the goal, where a lot of critical calls get made. Obviously the assistants are on the touchline, which is 30-40 yards from goal, while the ref rarely enters the 18 yard box during the run of play, so that if the ball gets cleared back the other way he doesn’t have to sprint the extra 20 yards. What we need, as much as I hate this, is another set of assistants behind the goals to give a better shot at making key handball or penalty or diving calls near the goal.

  12. PhilipMumbles

    November 19, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Thing is, how hard is it to have another ref watching via video in a booth that can assist? No contesting the play, not anyone being able to argue the referee. In the literal two seconds between a foul/dive/goal and the following set up for a free kick/bad goal/dive… A referee in a booth can easily talk to the ref. on field and relay the right call. If it turns out a mistake is made he change the call then and there. It’s silly to not use it at this point.

  13. brn442

    November 19, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Agreed Gaffer, FIFA is still looking at a sport that was played in the 1930’s – much slower, less money, no technology, less “cheating.” The modern sport needs more assistant referees and/or limited video replay for incidents involving goals/penalties, or else the overall integrity of the sport FIFA thinks they’re protecting will gradually diminish.

    For the record, I believe that Henry’s “handling” was more instinct than pre- meditated cheating but it’s rather naive to expect the player to run up to the ref and say such a thing.

    I feel bad for the Irish but again, this is what can happen when you leave to the last game to qualify.


    November 19, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Hello I would just want to say in Irish that French do not deserve the victory! Irish would have of to gain(win)!

  15. Matthew N

    November 19, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    I don’t really think replay would be of any use in football. It works in other leagues because many calls are black/white. For instance, in the NFL, you’re either in bounds or you are out of bounds (and even then they have challenged plays that are inconclusive). In football, there is a lot of gray. There is the play-on advantage which doesn’t happen in other sports. The only place football could even use replay would be on situations where it was hard to tell whether the ball went in the net (past the line).

    Personally, I think Henry’s actions were absolutely despicable. In situations like these, they should replay the match. I will give the official the benefit of the doubt and assume that he wasn’t in position to see what happened (though I really do question if the whole thing was on purpose– after all France has 20x the population of Ireland, much more money on that side), and I think in situations like these, FIFA should review the match afterward and call for a replay. It is obvious that this handball changed the game, and it is not clear what would have happened had Henry not deliberately used his hand to control the ball. There should be a replay.

    A lack of action on FIFA/UEFA’s part is just as classless and low as the foul itself. Make a stand for once.

  16. Bishopville Red

    November 19, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    My guess is that the end line officials will be part of the Word Cup. Unlike most sports, Football regularly shows off new technologies and rules at the major competitions instead of letting people know the deal before they get to the major competitions.

  17. The Gaffer

    November 19, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    The shame about this whole incident from the France vs Ireland game is that it brings the sport into disrepute. For those football supporters who are in to the game, it upsets that so much that some of them may cease watching the sport (seriously).

    And then there are those fans who are on the fence or who have no interest in the sport and this is another nail in the coffin to prevent them from becoming followers of the beautiful game.

    UEFA and FIFA have to be very careful that they don’t end up ruining the game for many people around the world. This is their opportunity to step in and to make changes before the 2010 World Cup takes place. They need to adopt the assistant referees who are standing behind the nets (from the Europa League) and make that happen before the first game in South Africa kicks off.

    Something must be done by FIFA. For them to sit quietly and do nothing is disgraceful.

    The Gaffer

  18. James Burke

    November 19, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Easy way to limit the use of appeals – give each team a limited number like they have done in other sports. Its not hard, failed appeal you lose it, successful you keep it.

  19. Bishopville Red

    November 19, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    The concern about where where, when and how much will always exist. Replay has been around for decades in the NFL, and those questions still pop up. Same with the NHL, and even now in Major League Baseball, where video is allowed because of mistakes that were as dodgy as the ones that robbed Ireland a chance to go to South Africa.

    BUT – in all cases, despite still leaving some questions unanswered and a few new ones posed, video review has helped all of those sports. “Only” fixing 80 % of the blown calls is still a hell of a lot better than letting egregious errors like the “hand of Fraud” perpetuate.

    It might take time to get it down to a science, but it’ll only take longer, the later you wait to start.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in General

Translate »