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Don’t blame the player

2010-07-05 16:00
Dear Editor,

Luis Suárez ended the 2009/10 season as top scorer in the Dutch league with 35 goals (49 goals in all competitions) and was named Dutch Footballer of the Year.

He is the captain of Ajax.

Law XII - Fouls and Misconduct:
Mandatory Instruction of the IFAB ("professional foul"). If, in the opinion of the referee, a player who is moving towards his opponents' goal with an obvious opportunity to score a goal is intentionally and physically impeded by unlawful means, i.e. an offence punishable by a free-kick (or a penalty-kick), thus denying the attacking player's team the aforesaid goal-scoring opportunity, the offending player shall be sent off the field of play for serious foul play in accordance with Law XII.

At that precise moment the player had to make a call and he did. He is not a cheat? A cheat would have denied the offence and not left the field of play willingly - or even worse scored a goal from a handball to win the match. In 1986 Maradonna helped Argentina win the Cup using his hand and went on to win many accolades from FIFA and other sources as a "Player of the Century". A Thierry Henry handball against Ireland saw France progress to the South African finals - this is a player who has also been awarded many honours for the beautiful game. No red cards or penalties were awarded in those matches.

Controversy is always going to be a big part of sport, it gives the losing team’s fans some comfort in the pub and allows them to save face and talk about what could have been for many years to come. The truth of the matter is that to his supporters (of which I am one) will always commend him for his quick thinking and his ability to play within the rules - sacrificing his own glory for the good of the team.

Luis, I salute you and wish you and your team well – all the way to the final.


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