Trying to describe the sense of injustice that has enveloped a very cold, wet and miserable Ireland, a day after the so called 'Hand of Gaul' cheated the nation's soccer team from gracing South Africa 2010 is beyond my clean language. Only four letter expletives seem to suffice on this occasion! Thierry Henry's delinquent sleight of hand may have tarnished his up to now, impeccable reputation not just with Irish fans, but also all those who see fair play as sacrosanct to the beautiful game. M. Henry (affectionately known by those close to him as Titi) has overnight turned into public enemy number one in Ireland with the Irish cyberspace and airwaves filled with angry denunciations peppered with 'Hand of Frog', 'Hand of Dog' and a new meaning to the abbreviation F.I.F.A... well basically these are the only ones that I can repeat on this family channel! And of course being black, some of the abuse aimed at Titi and indeed the French team quickly turned racist, which is totally uncalled for and moronic to say the least.
As with any perceived injustice, conspiracy theories are now a dime-a-dozen, although some have do a little bit credence, particularly one which accuses FIFA of manipulating the playoff draws so that the big teams qualified for their showpiece event. Anyway, as I write, even the Irish Minister for Justice has demanded justice from Fifa - basically that the match should be replayed. There's a fat chance of that happening although the soccer world governing body did set the precedence when a 2006 World Cup playoff match between Uzbekistan and Bahrain was replayed after a technical mistake by the referee. Apparently, last night's calamity (in Irish eyes) was not deemed a technical mistake by the referee.
Which is a great pity as I know having lived here for some time now, that Irish fans would have greatly added to the occasion through their good natured and very passionate support for the Boys In Green!
Fair Play? What fair play?