It was a tedious morning of “Henry is a disgrace” and “Henry, Eduardo, we investigate the cheats in football.”
Then BBC Radio Five Live decided to get Republic of Ireland assistant manager Liam Brady on.
Liam sounded as if he had not slept for a week. But he spoke slowly and clearly, and utterly refused to be interrupted by the usual mindless childish whimsy of the resident journalists, that characterises the station.
The interviewer tried to get Liam to talk about how awful it was that Henry had handballed – as if no one had ever handballed ever before ever.
But Liam would not be moved. He went for the jugular.
He said that referee Martin Hansson had “succumbed under pressure” in awarding France the goal – pressure brought about so that the top countries with their big TV audiences would get through. His allegation was simple – that the world cup was fixed by FIFA to ensure their selected teams made it to the finals. A fixing that started with the way groups were drawn up, one that continued with the sudden last minute decision to seed the European play offs through to the way in which the game itself was refereed.
Liam said, “I wouldn’t blame Thierry Henry for what went on. I would maybe look at what happened three months before and the fact that these seedings for the play-offs were made to favour the bigger teams. I would ask why that went on.”
Liam then said FIFA’s decision to seed the play-off draw by world ranking showed an obvious desire from football’s world governing body to ensure the big names qualified, and that Swedish official Hansson felt under pressure to make that happen.
“The pressure on referees is enormous then,” he added. “The pressure is too much to bear and I thought the referee up until then had refereed the match in fine fashion, but he succumbed under pressure.”
Keane, the captain of Ireland said Blatter and Platini would be “delighted” with the outcome last night. “They’re all probably clapping hands, Platini sitting up there on the phone to Sepp Blatter, probably texting each other, delighted with the result.”
FIFA – the organisation that lies and lies and lies again in court (in the words of a Supreme Court judge) – has fixed it again. And the BBC, which only wants to blame the likes of Henry and Eduardo – does it stuff again. The thought that they had a scoop on their hands seem to scare them beyond all belief. They have paid for their broadcasting rights, as have ESPN and Sky and ITV and so they cannot ever even debate the fact that world football is fixed.
If football is ever to change, I think it is down to us. I don’t know who else is ever going to clean up the act. But it is good to know Liam is on our side.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009.
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