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July 13, 2006

FIFA opens probe on Materazzi comments

FIFA has opened an official probe into Marco Materazzi's comments to Zinedine Zidane during the World Cup Final. Both athletes will appear before a disciplinary committee on July 20th.

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Lindsay, I’m glad you’re covering this. I think it’s an important story, because I think the World Cup, like the Olympics, is an important event in the sense that it’s a chance for peaceful engagement between nations and in some way might be helpful in advancing civil discourse in the international arena. Which feels almost ridiculous to assert in the context of this story, and also in the context of the well-documented (not by me at the moment, sorry, due to time constraints) serious and continuing problems on the field and between the fans. Specific to the incident at hand, I think the headbutt seemed like more of a spontaneous political statement than a selfish act, or a reckless loss of self-control. And I’m not arguing that it didn’t have any effect on the outcome, but I’m not sure I agree that it cost France the game because they still had a chance to win after it happened. And if you go to the FIFA website you won’t be surprised to find under “Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct” that a “player is sent off and shown the red card if he commits any of the following seven offences” including “uses offensive or insulting or abusive language and/or gestures.” So, if Materazzi should’ve been red-carded and sent off for his comments, or rather, if he would’ve been, then… Well, better not go there, but it will be interesting to see if Materazzi confesses the exact details (and if Zidane is asked to confirm them) before the disciplinary committee, and/or if either one suffers any further consequences.

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Of course not. The Italian thug would be condemned for assaulting the French hero - and rightly so.

But purely because Zidane is a footballing hero, and because the fairytale ending to this summer in Germany was for Zizou to lift the World Cup in his very last game, Sepp Blatter feels the need to stick his usual oar in.

Can we assume that any time someone is sent off for hitting, kicking, headbutting or pushing an opponent, there will be an enquiry to find out what provoked them? After all, there's always something.>>

I think that makes a fair case:
http://www.football365.com/opinion/f365_opinion/story_188670.shtml

Argh, stupid tag things. First part of that:

One simple question should be asked: If Marco Materazzi had been sent off for headbutting Zinedine Zidane, would FIFA be taking this action?

Good. I hope Materazzi gets fined. FIFA wants to stand up against racism, they need to acknowledge that Zidane actually did.

-- FIFA wants to stand up against racism, they need to acknowledge that Zidane actually did.--

Amanda

What are you talking about?

There was a report from a French "anti-racism" group that Materazzi had said racist things, but Zidane himself said that this was untrue. The "anti-racism" group and the assorted lip readers made that stuff up.

Saying horrid things to the opponent in a competition is unmanly and unsportsmanlike. But it happens. All the time. In the NBA, the NFL, and in soccer football.

I've forgiven Zidane for whatever little that's worth. He did a very bad thing- which he himself has said- but I understand what he did and why he did it.

But I don't see how Materazzi can rightfully be punished for engaging in the kind of thing that has happened so constantly in FIFA and other events.

If FIFA wants to do the right thing, they should give a gentle rejoinder to Materazzi but then enact a new rule going forward.

"But I don't see how Materazzi can rightfully be punished for engaging in the kind of thing that has happened so constantly in FIFA and other events"

Maybe because Materazzi has, in the past, already been given one of the longer suspensions in italian football history, for doing this exact same thing...?

look it up.

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