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Question Number: 22539


RE: World Cup Professional

Ray Granillo of Gilbert, AZ USA asks...

Ok, Im sure everyone wants to know what your take on Henrys supposed handball in todays world cup qualifier.

I know as a player that I have often been coached to use the hands and make it look unintentional. This is especially true while covering privates on free kicks but I have been told more than once to "get any advantage possible." If you can fool the refs, great, if not, there is really no harm done as we would have lost the ball anyway.

You cannot tell me that a player of Thierry Henrys skill did not know exactly what he was doing. You may argue that it was inadvertent and his hands just happened to be in the right spot at the right time, but I know better.

It seems that the last few years the whole 'handles the ball deliberately' quote from law 12 has been use has been put to very bad use by players, coaches, and refs. I think it is time for a revision.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

It does not matter what the player does or does not do if it it went unseen by the referee! Given the angle of view across on the replay I have to be puzzled the AR missed it as well but he was 40 yards away! The revision you seek is completely unneccessary that was clearly not accidental and clearly no goal should have been awarded if the referee HAD of seen it! I must think he diid not to think otherwise is unkind! It is true an accidental handling that falls favourably is play on but in this case I see nothing to indcate this was anything but a purposeful redirection of the ball! Such is the concensus of the armchair mutli angle slow motion replay rewind opinion of this referee!

PS Now that Henri has admitted to cheating and blames the referee for not catching him it will be interesting to see if FIFA takes any action! I agree with Ref Wickham this will undoubtably make the push for extra eyes on the goal line to occur at the WC!

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Answer provided by Referee Steve Montanino

If the referee sees this, he would have called a foul, and possibly booked Henry for doing so. If he cannot see it, and the AR didn't have a great look with the goalkeeper in his line of sight, then he must allow the goal.

Instant replay, maybe... change the law, no way!

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

I would ask both my fellow panelists and Ray to go look at a minimum of 5 videos at different angles. The initial youtube video makes it look like he handled it twice which is what the announcers kept saying. If you look at enough views you'll see there is no second handling. Some views show exactly what Henry has said, the ball bounced up and hit his hand and he immediately pulls his hand back, the ball drops to the ground and he kicks it to his teammate. Deliberate handling? I'm not sure.

There does seem to be a blatant missed offside a few seconds earlier. One blue player was in offside position when ball was played and it appears he is interfering with an opponent before the ball gets to Henry,

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

FIFA has been experimenting with adding two referees near each goal to add coverage to events inside the penalty area. This incident (and some recent entries in the dive pool) may convince FIFA that they would be helpful in the next World Cup.

Until then, I'm sorry for Ireland. I love to watch Henry play, but I prefer it when he uses his feet.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ray
Obviously as an Irish supporter I'm disappointed with the result. It was a fantastic occasion, great football, great theatre and a real moment of football history. I thought the referee and his crew did very well. However circumstances contrived for the referee to get one major game changing decision wrong as a result of not being in a position to see it nor for that matter his assistant.
As regards the incident it was deliberate handling of the ball by Henry. The first contact IMO was not deliberate but the 2nd touch was most definitely. This is a textbook example of the advice given to referees about the first contact may not being deliberate but any redirection afterwards most definitely is. Some have called this cheating but IMO it was a foul that was unseen and not called. Reason for the missed call was 1. The position of the referee which was technically correct but this is a 'blind spot' for referees on the goal line 2. The speed of the handball made it difficult for the AR to see this from 35 yards away.
What it does say to me is that if we judge officials and decisions with the use of technology then the same technology should be made available to the officials. The football world saw this within 5/10 secs of it happening and a TV match official could have informed the referee on the foot of massive protest by the Irish players that it was indeed a deliberate handling, Henry should be cautioned and the restart is a DFK to the defence.
Technology is not available so the result should be accepted, learn from it and move on. Whether it is a seminal moment in use of technology time will tell. Michel Platini, a Frenchman and President of UEFA is opposed to the use of technology. Whether he can quell the clamour for VT is anyone's guess.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

When I see a decision like this, my first thought is - why did the referees make the decision they did?

I am of the firm belief that it was all deliberate, and to start with I believe his hand was in an unnatural position with plenty of time to move it out of the way. Then he moved his hand out towards the ball. Just my view - isn't it funny how even referees can have different opinions of the same incident?

The reason behind a decision is, from a referee's development perspective, more important than the decision itself. After all, we're all human and will make mistakes - and being human, sometimes we're unsighted.

In determining why a referee may have missed something, his position is critical.

Deliberate handling of the ball is very difficult to spot - all it takes is a moment of a player's body being between the referee and the ball, and the referee will miss it. That's unavoidable. With good positioning it can be minimised, but can't be completely avoided.

If the referee was in the middle of the field, then no matter how close he was, Henri's body would have been between him and the ball. Even if the referee was in a better position (wider), it still would have been very difficult for him to spot it.

I actually don't blame the referee at all for this decision. The assistant was in a better position - but from his angle he may not have been able to tell if there was a deflection (you'd be surprised how much of a deflection you can miss from certain angles). His view may also have been blocked. Frustrating situation - but I can almost guarantee the referee will be as frustrated as anybody else at missing it. Just one of those things.

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