Fifa opens case against Henry

2009-12-03 09:07

FIFA opened a disciplinary case yesterday against France forward

Thierry Henry for handling the ball in the World Cup playoff against Ireland

last month.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said that its disciplinary committee

would look at Henry’s behaviour in the November 18 second leg at Stade de


FIFA’s executive committee met Wednesday and referred the case to

the independent disciplinary panel. It has the authority to impose a one-match

suspension on Henry, which would take effect at the start of the World Cup in


Henry twice handled the ball before passing to William Gallas, who

scored the goal that gave France a 1-1 draw and 2-1 win on aggregate to qualify

for the World Cup instead of Ireland.

Ireland’s players later expressed anger that the France captain ran

to join a jubilant goal celebration with teammates instead of acknowledging his

foul play.

Blatter, who said this weekend that it was not Henry’s

responsibility to tell the referee he handled the ball, on Wednesday described

the Frenchman’s handball as “blatant unfair playing” that was seen around the


He said no timetable has been set for a meeting and ruling from the

panel, which is chaired by Swiss lawyer Marcel Mathier.

Blatter said he spoke by telephone with Henry several days ago, and

that the Frenchman felt “left alone and abandoned” by intense public reaction

against him.

“It was a sportsman’s discussion,” said Blatter said, who has made

fair play in football a major theme of his presidency.

He appealed to coaches to observe fair play and said the Henry case

could be “an example for the youth of the world.”

The French Football Federation would not immediately comment on the

disciplinary case.

In a similar case last year, Italian authorities banned Fiorentina

forward Alberto Gilardino for two matches after he scored with his forearm in a

Serie A match.

The league ruled that Gilardino was unsportsmanlike for not

acknowledging the handball during a 3-1 win over Palermo.

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