(Edit note: July 3, 2010) There is a fascinating counter argument that on the play prior to the handball play, the Ghana player may have first faked a foul by falling to the ground even though he may not have been touched, and then hit the ball out of bounds with his arm as he fell to the ground from the fake trip. I think it is up to the media to point this out and make it part of the historical record,
in which case I would consider retracting part of my commentary. O
therwise, i stand by my article.)
(Edit not: July 4, 2010) lol, I have retracted part of my article and made it less incendiary. It amazes me how the unfairness of the final handball play was caused by a preceding play that may have been every bit as unfair, but by the other side. However, the handball rules regarding the actual blocking of certain goal need to be rewritten by FIFA.)
I was really surprised by what I saw transpire at the end of overtime in the Uruguay vs Ghana 2010 World Cup game.
I saw a handball called against Uruguay that saved them from certain defeat, but the handball penalties that were imposed against Uruguay were incorrect.
I understand that when a handball is called near the goal area a penalty kick can be called. This makes perfect sense. The handball offender may or may not have stopped a possible goal, and for that an almost certain goal via a penalty kick may be awarded as a way to demonstrate that when people play the game legally, they are rewarded for their efforts against those who, cheat.
But if the handball violation is 100 percent certain to have prevented a goal from scoring, awarding a penalty kick is ridiculous as it does not match the level of the handball infraction. Even assessing an automatic goal is not enough. An auto goal AND an immediate red card should be issued that applies to the rest of the game. If the auto goal had created an overtime tie that would then be decided by a five on five penalty kick scenario, then the handball offender's team should have one of their five overtime penalty kicks waived off, meaning they would only get four penalty kicks to the other teams five. Anything less than these two actions REWARDS the handball offender and their cheating, over those that play the game correctly.
What is so outrageous is that in the Ghana vs Uruguay game, NEITHER OF THE ABOVE WAS DONE! Ghana was still forced to kick a penalty kick to get a goal that was already theirs! In American Football, a penalty in the end zone on the defense results in the football being put at the one yard line. This makes sense as there is no scenario where can one automatically assume that without the interference the receiver would have caught the ball for a touchdown 100% of the time. There might be 99% certainty, but not 100% certainty.
In the Ghana vs Uruguay game, the Uruguay defender was so far inside the goal when he committed the handball infraction and the ball was hit in such a straight forward matter that one can safely say that without the defender having illegally interfered with the soccer ball with his hand, there was a 100% certainty that a goal would have resulted.
So calling anything less than an automatic goal would be a sacrilege to the spirit, rituals, and honor of how soccer is supposed to be played. You don't reward a player for committing an intentional handball that prevents a goal from occurring 100% of the time, yet that is what FIFA has done.
Perhaps what makes the situation all the more strange was the play leading up to the handball. It appears that the Ghana player faked falling to the ground, then hit the ball out of bounds with his arm! Could anybody write a more concocted script than what apparently happened in real life! It is up to the media to link these two events together whenever they talk about the end of the 2010 Ghana, Uruguay game.
However, even if one wants to argue that the two wrongs ended up canceling each other out and in the end the game was decided by penalty kicks, that does not defend how a handball that prevents a 100% certain goal from scoring cannot result in an autogoal. On top of that, because the hand was actually elevated to stop the ball, I would then include a deduction of one of the five kicks should the game go to a final penalty kick round.
The world of sports seems upside down lately. In Los Angeles, thousands riot after the Los Angeles Lakers win a basketball championship. In South Africa, nobody protests when the last remaining African team is denied their rightful victory by a system that instead rewards the cheater. Civilized society requires that people respect well thought out rules and procedures, but when we begin to obey rules that don't make sense, we weaken the delicate balance of truth and honor versus cheating and ruthlessness.
I wish people would realize that obedience to stupid rules does not strengthen them, but rather it weakens them. I wish a peaceful protest could be started demanding that in the future auto goals be reward specifically when it can be shown with 100% authentication that the handball stopped a goal from occurring. A handball violation should never reward the cheater moreso than the victimized team, also known as those who are playing by the rules.
If FIFA cannot accept that they need to immediately correct the most obvious of omissions on their part, I think South Africa should ask FIFA to leave and not come back until they get their rules in order. The 2010 World Cup has been tainted, and until the tainting is corrected, it makes no sense to continue playing the games.
What is saddest of all is this mistake by FIFA had nothing to do with instant replay, it had everything to do with common sense and ineffective rulesmanship.
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