July 21, 2006
Selfish Zidane has fooled Fifa
Arrogant French legend has sullied his own legacy
Article by Paul Doyle
Thursday July 20, 2006
Zidane's chestbutt was excusable. Lots of people do stupid things when they're angry. And if he'd simply apologised for losing and misusing his head and accepted his punishment, Zinédine Zidane could have been forgiven. But instead he decided to play the victim and, in doing so, has cheapened the legacy of one of the game's greatest ever players: himself.
Throughout his sparkling career, Zidane has been hailed for his humility. We've constantly been told that he's just a timid family man who's never let success swell his ego and never forgotten where he came from. But his behaviour since the World Cup final has been disingenuous and self-serving, suggesting that this supposedly modest hero puts his own pride before the good of the game that made him.
Zidane complained that Marco Materazzi insulted him and should be punished. He stressed that the insults were not racist, religious or political. In other words, they were the sort of playground taunts that have been heard in every sporting contest at every level since the dawn of time. Zidane has surely been on the receiving end of such insults throughout his life and career; and it would be incredible if the 34-year-old has himself never taunted or insulted an opponent. Indeed, it has been widely reported that he called referee Jorge Larrionda a "son of a bitch" during France's semi-final win over Portugal. In football, such vacuous insults have rarely been taken seriously, certainly not when between two players - they've merely been treated as relatively harmless valves through which players vent frustration, or crude ways of winding up adversaries. So did a dunderhead like Materazzi really manage to concoct a jibe so extraordinarily disturbing that it justified Zidane's attack and his demand for Fifa to take unprecedented action?
Or is Zidane simply too proud to admit that the pressure and emotion of the World Cup final and his last ever game led him to make a big drama out of the most humdrum of happenings? Is he arrogant enough to try to fool the world into believing that he, who had previously accumulated 13 red cards in his career, is of such impeccable moral fibre and professional rectitude that it would have taken something unimaginably heinous to blur his focus? Well, insofar as it prompted silly Fifa to retrospectively impose a two-game ban on Materazzi, Zizou's selfish ruse has worked.
Indeed, such is Zidane's mystique that he even managed to convince the French Football Federation to contradict themselves and speak to Fifa in his defence. This is the same FFF that last year appealed against one of its own disciplinary committee's decisions after Fabien Barthez, who had spat on a referee during a friendly, was dealt with leniently after explaining he was provoked. The FFF insisted the goalkeeper serve at least a six-month ban. The word 'hypocrisy' must be featuring heavily in Barthez's conversations tonight.
As for Fifa, now that they've been hoodwinked into declaring that swearing at someone is only marginally less objectionable than physically assaulting them and should be punished even if the referee doesn't hear it, how does the world governing body propose to eradicate harsh language? By making every player wear a microphone during matches and employing a squadron of eavesdroppers to monitor their utterances? If so, which jibes merit a yellow card and which deserve red? For how many games will a player be suspended for insulting an opponent's sister as opposed to, say, his cousin?
Conniving Zidane handed Fifa a jagged can-opener, and the clowns have released the worms.
Please sign the petition to bring justice and eliminate bias from the governing body FIFA.
Please click on the links to view the decision by FIFA and other information, and note that both players stressed the insults were not of racial nature.
President Joseph Blatter
Federation Internationale de Football Association
P.O. Box 8044 Zurich, Switzerland
Tel : +41-(0)43 222 7777
Fax : +41-(0)43 222 7878
Dear Mr. Blatter,
FIFA must retract its penalty towards Materazzi or increase Zidane's penalty because:
*the punishments dealt set bad precedent,
*there is extreme bias against Materazzi(status and nationality),
*and US Law along with most countries do not have laws that provocation can be used as a defense for violent assaults.
With sincerest appreciation,
The FIFA Injustice and Bias petition to FIFA President Joseph Blatter was written by Ciro and is in the category Sports at GoPetition.