There is speculation today that Thierry Henry’s reputation as a model sportsman may be seriously tarnished by his handball offence which led to the vital goal in the World Cup qualifier play-off game against Ireland in Paris last night. Henry has long been feted as the ideal football talent, a global icon in various campaigns.
The Barcelona striker partners golfer Tiger Woods and tennis ace Roger Federer in ads for Gillette Fusion. A spokesperson for Procter & Gamble, distributors in Ireland for Gillette, said it was not their place to comment on such matters but they would continue to use Henry in their ads.
He is one of the faces of Pepsi, along with such English Premier League stars as Chelsea’s Frank Lampard and his former Arsenal teammate, Cesc Fabregas. Henry used to feature in Renault ads which sparked the phrase “Va-va-voom” and he still fronts for Reebok and Tommy Hilfiger.
Henry currently endorses an anti-obesity Playa4Life message for Pepsi created by AMV BBDO with support from the British government. In the ad (see image above), Henry mentions three people who have influenced him most in life – Marco van Basten, his father and Maradona.
The diminutive Argentina striker will forever be remembered for his ‘hand of God’ goal against England in the quarter final of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
Speaking on Today With Pat Kenny this morning, Liam Brady, assistant manager, Republic of Ireland and the man in charge of Arsenal’s youth academy, has said that if we are to have “integrity and dignity” in the game of football Fifa should replay the match in Paris.
Ireland’s Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern and Fine Gael deputy Alan Shatter have also called on Fifa to sanction a replay. John Delaney of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) said his body will lodge a complaint with Fifa and ask them to investigate the matter.
Fifa is taking a firm stand today on the controversy and quoted rule five of their code which refers to the referee’s decision as binding unless a technical error is proven. Football’s world body is determined that there be no replay and that last night’s result must stand.
Speaking at a press conference in the FAI premises in Abbotstown, Ireland team manager, Giovanni Trapattoni, said he was not hopeful of Fifa agreeing to a replay. He blamed the choice of officials on what happened and asked Fifa to explain the criteria for choosing the referee.
He said Fifa and Uefa should change the rules for World Cup and Euro play-offs. Teams in play-offs should play two matches of 90 minutes each and if it’s still all square at that stage, penalties should be taken. Fifa should introduce a ‘television official’, like they do in rugby and cricket.
Shortly after the final whistle in the Stade de France last night, someone created this page on Facebook…
Within half an hour, the page had about 5,000 members and this morning it had 11,000. Dublin ad agency Rothco has coverage on the Henry saga and is worth checking out… http://www.rothco.ie/blog/
The Fifa Fair Play Code reads: “Play fair.Winning is without value if victory has been achieved unfairly or dishonestly.Cheating is easy, but brings no pleasure.Playing fair requires courage and character. It is also more satisfying.Fair play always has its reward, even when the game is lost.Playing fair earns respect,while cheating only brings shame.Remember: it is only a game.And games are pointless unless played fairly.”