Thursday, July 13, 2006

Don't Even Think About It Sepp
By Imtiaz Mussa

The referees made some bad calls during the World Cup but if FIFA does this, it will be the worst call of all. Stripping Zinedine Zidane of the Golden Ball Award for best player of the World Cup would be an injustice.

FIFA is following standard procedure in investigating the headbutting incident between Zidane and Italy’s Marco Materazzi in the World Cup final. They will what led to the action that Zidane took and more importantly, if Materazzi provoked the French captain into doing it. Materazzi has already admitted that he has insulted Zidane but denies calling him a ‘dirty terrorist.’ Zidane went on French television yesterday saying Materazzi insulted his mother and sister and apologized to the children who had to see his reaction.

When we find out the results of the investigation, FIFA might do the unthinkable and take the Golden Ball away from Zidane. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said the following, “"The winner of the award is not decided by FIFA but by an international commission of journalists… Having said that, FIFA's executive committee has the right and the duty to intervene when faced with behaviours that are against the ethic of sport."

If Blatter and FIFA do decide to take the award away from Zidane, they will have tarnished the entire 2006 World Cup. Zidane’s sending off in the final is the big story but there are some who still remember what Italy went though, the magic of Ghana, and more importantly, the fact that Zidane was unbelievably amazing in this tournament.

Zidane headbutted Materazzi and was sent off. No one is defending the action and he has apologized. Even Materazzi himself has said that Zidane is deserving of the Golden Ball even though he beat teammates Fabio Cannavaro and Andrea Pirlo. As the entire world is getting off the World Cup high and getting ready for new national managers and a busy transfer market, it’s time to let this fade out.

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