The handball incident is certainly leaving its mark on Brazilian football and society, but unfortunately not in a very impressive way. One would perhaps think that the use of electronic aid to determine the outcome of a goal situation would raise serious questioning about the integrity of Brazilian referees, the role of the CBF, the rule of law. Rather the contrary, it seems.
Following Palmeiras’ formal protest with the Superior Tribunal for Sports (STJD) and the Tribunal’s decision (actually, standard procedure) to temporary “freeze” the points dealt to Internacional until presenting a ruling on the case, there’s been a moral outcry: Barcos and Palmeiras are being virtually crucified under the general understanding – and this by the man on the street as well as experienced and respected [sic] sports journalists – that justice was done when the goal was disallowed through external influence. Along the same lines, Barcos should be ashamed and should officially apologize. Palmeiras are desperate and playing a foul game, trying to direct the supporter’s frustration against external actors, i.e. the CBF and the STJD. By “seeking to validate an irregular goal” [sic], Palmeiras show just how low it is possible to sink, smudging the traditions of the club.
Journalists are voicing these “concerns” and others, being openly ironic and sarcastic, mocking Palmeiras on social media and elsewhere. Very few see the bigger picture. Or perhaps they deliberately choose not to?
One of the few who state the obvious is Alessandre Abate of the Lance! football magazine, arguing we live in a society of rules and regulations and that even if a replay clearly shows an irregularity, that replay can never be used to influence the sovereign decision of the referee in a game of football. The question of whether or not to adopt electronic/external aid for the football refs is a necessary debate, but any implementation of the sort must take place in the open, in full transparency and with FIFA authorization.
Palmeiras and palmeirenses are NOT outraged by the disallowance of a handball goal, but rather that the rules of the games suddenly “changed”, the referee allowing himself to rely on a reply to support his decision-making: a much more serious breach of regulations that the handgoal in itself and something that threatens opening up Pandora’s box if not properly dealt with by the CBF and the STJD.
In addition to the above, journalists are showing a blatant lack of consistency. Some excellent research done by Tania of the Clorofila blog exemplifies how handgoals – when committed by players from other teams and especially when playing for the Brazilian national team – have been subject to outright praise by the same journalists who now demand Barcos’ public apology.
I’m not endorsing conspiracy theories. I’m however sick and tired of the double-standards, hypocrisy and stupidity surrounding us. Equal treatment is all we wish for. Rule of law. Would that be asking too much?