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How should Thierry Henry be punished after admitting handball foul?

November 18, 2009 |  5:31 pm

So, in these days of permissiveness on and off the soccer field, what is to be done with Thierry Henry?

The French striker admitted after France's 1-1 tie with Ireland in Paris that he had intentionally handled the ball on the play that brought about William Gallas' game-tying goal for France and put Les Bleus into the 2010 World Cup.

"I will be honest, it was a handball," Henry said. "But I am not the referee."

I will be honest too. The guillotine is a fearsome thing, but much as the Irish would like to employ it, it's not going to happen. If Swedish referee Martin Hansson and his assistants did not see or call the foul, how can FIFA act after the fact to punish Henry?

Should he be suspended for a game or two? Should he be banished from the entire tournament in South Africa? Should he be denied entry to Ireland for the foreseeable future? Should he be made to play in Major League Soccer next year?

It's tough to come up with a sanction that fits. After all, look at Argentina's Diego Maradona, another famous handball player. He disgraced himself and his country with his lewd rant at the media after Argentina had qualified and all FIFA gave him was a slap on the wrist, a pathetic and meaningless two-month suspension. So what. Maradona will still be in South Africa, and as a coach no less.

Henry will be there too. All the Irish can hope for is that the French stay is a very short one.

-- Grahame L. Jones

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