In comments that are sure to shock many, controversial referee Martin Hansson has denied any fault in the recent France v. Ireland World Cup playoff. The Swedish referee was the head match official and had his normal team of fellow Swedish linesman working the game with him as the group combined to make one of most talked about (and important) officiating gaffes in recent soccer history.
Speaking about the Thierry Henry handball, which sent France through to the World Cup finals in South Africa, Hansson refused to except any blame for the incident. “I realize that it was not my fault,” he told Swedish newspaper Sydostran. “It was an unfortunate event that had big consequences for Ireland, but it wasn’t the fault of the refereeing team.”
While he may be right about it being “an unfortunate event”, it’s difficult to imagine he would try to completely deflect all responsibility in the incident. Hansson claimed he and his officiating crew were blameless because their views of the handball were obstructed.
How do all three officials could miss such a blatantly obvious handball, unless someone wasn’t doing their job and therefore is to blame? The bigger question is, how does this referee nott have the guts to admit he and his team made a mistake?