I have to admit that leading up to last nights World Cup qualifier between France and Ireland I was devoid of any real biased towards one of the teams. By the end of the match though I felt like I had become born again Irish and that consequently I needed to commit an atrocity to Thierry Henry's vital organs. No I'm not even exaggerating. Henry's Micheal Jordan impersonation had Nicksportsrant fuming. Then I nearly vomited when Henry was interviewed and insisted that he didn't mean to do it and that it was all the referees fault.
Before I layout what I think can be done in instances like this I just want to express how I view Thierry Henry as a Football player and a person. Only a truly self absorbed, egotistical and classless human being could come out and make the comments that this once great footballer made after the final whistle. Never mind that its the referees decision to make. There was one man on that field who could have made things right and that was Thierry Henry. At least when Zinadine Zidane let himself down by head butting Marco Materazzi he did it because of the Italians foul mouthed abuse. For me Zidane is still the best Footballer of my generation. Thierry Henry has now tainted his reputation forever.
The title of this blog encapsulates (in my opinion) what should happen before, during ,and after an incident like this. Allow me to explain each point in the order they are written. Firstly the referee should have to by (footballing law) immediately ask the player guilty of the alleged offense if he indeed handled the ball. The player should then tell the referee the truth. If the player is still adamant that he is innocent of foul play then a television replay should be used by the fourth official. If the player in question is guilty he is sent off for cheating, and if not then play continues normally.
I would then go one step further as well. Along with the suspension and fine that players already receive I would force a public apology. Can you imagine Henry squirming around wishing he had a nippy little Clio to Va Va Voom him away from the glare of the camera awaiting his confession.
I believe that this three pronged approach to dealing with cheating (that could be used to counter diving as well) would appease both the purists who don't want to see technology interrupt the flow of play, and also those in the game who wish to see technology introduced.
Lets be honest by the time the Irish had stopped complaining and the French had hid their blushes there would have been enough time to evaluate the weekends weather as well as the hand ball. By giving the player a chance to admit his guilt, all the technology could be by passed and the game could continue freely.
Lastly it surprises me that its just the Irish who are demanding a replay of the game. Surely the French with their 'O so proud and honest' image would welcome the chance to replay the game and truly earn their passage to the World Cup. Unfortunately all we can hope for is that France receive some Karma at the World Cup, because FIFA and Platini got what they wanted all long and to lose both Russia and France would have been unthinkable for them.