Sunday, July 09, 2006


The referee didn't see it, the assistant referee didn't see it, so how can FIFA's insistence that video evidence is inadmissable stand up after tonight?

I am in no way condoning the action of Zinedine Zidane, although I would love to know just what Materazzi said to him; there just remains a suspicion that the fourth official (whose verdict has so far in these championships been restricted to timekeeping) only decided to radio his opinion to the referee after Zidane's marvellously aggressive headbutt was relayed to the entire audience via the video screens in place at the stadium. (Whoops, according to eye-witness reports, the replay was not shown in the stadium but you're not telling me that the official did not have access to TV monitor replays).

Now, were similar evidence to have been admissible during the rest of the championships, Italy would probably not have progressed beyond Australia, whose fortune at this World Cup was determined by a decidedly dodgy penalty decision which would not, under any reasonably fair video scrutiny have stood up to even the most cursory examination.

I'm agog at the possibilities for FIFA to explain away this one, but I'm sure they'll find a politically acceptable press release, one which absolves Materazzi, as a World Cup winner, and the referee, as a FIFA appointment, of any wrong doing whatsoever.

But I have this nagging suspicion that Materazzi was extremely well briefed. Any lip readers aware of Algerian insults?

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