Monday, July 17, 2006

the World Cup, reloaded

Eight days have passed since the end of the 2006 football World Cup successfully held by the Germans. The Italians lifted the Cup, but the most-talked about event of the final game between Italy and France was undoubtedly Zidane's infamous head butt on the Italian defender Marco Materazzi. (See some of the images that have been passing around the internet)

Zidane’s moment of rage (it’s actually the second time he got sent off a World Cup game, which is a record) might have drowned the hopes of a second cup victory, but the French seemed to have forgiven their hero. Jacques Chirac received the team with open arms and Zidane with kind words, while the surrounding fans cheered and sang “Zizou, Zizou”.

The defeat however was not digested well, and some Frenchman like Mr. Mouhou (a lawyer, of course) even intend to have it repeated.
Yes, I said repeated. Why? Well, upon defeat Mr. Domenech (the French coach) was (once again) not very graceful and decided to fire in the direction of the fourth referee (the one who informed the referee of the exchange between Zidane and Materazzi). According to Mr. Domenech the fourth referee did not see what happened when it happen but only later in one replay from a TV set nearby (which is forbidden by FIFA regulations).

FIFA and the fourth referee have dismissed the charges, but Mr. Mouhou (who says he is acting on behalf of a number of clubs and associations whose names he would later reveal) still hopes to have the game nullified, and would be filing a lawsuit in the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris, one of France's main civil courts. (What would the nationality of the Judge be, might I ask??)

In the meantime Zidane has spoken about the incident on TV. Unexpectedly he said he feels no regret, and went to say that the “real” guilt belonged to Materazzi, who had harshly insulted him some moments before. Motivated by the pressure of the media and the spheres of (internal) political influence, FIFA opened an inquiry on what really happened between Materazzi and Zidane.

No one really knows what to expect as a result of these inquiries, but I personally think that they are completely unnecessary. What happened was quite clear, Zidane intentionally aggressed Materazzi. Red card! Sent off the pitch with a heavy sanction on his back. Bye-bye Mr. Zizou.

Nobody can expect this to end the “trash talk” that goes on every single football game neither between professionals nor between friends playing the “Married vs. Singles” matches.

What kind of a signal would FIFA send by condemning the words of Materazzi? Would that mean that soon enough we’ll have a dictionary of “curse-words” forbidden during a football match?? And who would translate it into all the other different languages?? And how many polyglot-referees do we have in the FIFA pool of referees? Can you imagine refereeing a game Tajikistan vs. Yemen, right?? Go figure!


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