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Swedish ref on handball goal: 'It wasn't my fault'

David Landes · 24 Nov 2009, 14:37

Published: 24 Nov 2009 14:37 GMT+01:00

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“I’ve wondered, is this job worth all the humiliation I’ve had to endure. The thought occurred to me that maybe this isn’t my thing,” Hansson told the local Sydöstran newspaper.

Hansson’s comments come following what he calls a “turbulent week” in the wake of a missed call which dashed Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The Swedish referee became the object of Irish ire when he allowed an extra-time goal by French defender William Gallas, following a pass from Henry which came moments after he had clearly handled the ball, according to video replays of the sequence.

The goal, which tied the match 1-1, meant that France would advance through to the World Cup in South Africa, while Ireland was sent packing.

Hansson found himself ridiculed in both the Swedish and international press for what one Aftonbladet commentator called the worst Swedish officiating mistake in decades.

Despite the criticism, however, Hansson said he realized he shouldn’t blame himself.

“It wasn’t my fault. It was an unfortunate event which had huge consequences for Ireland. But it wasn’t the officiating team’s fault,” he told the newspaper.

Hansson explained that a graphic compiled by British newspaper The Times helped show that neither he nor the linesmen had a clear line of sight to Henry’s handball.

“The graphic has vindicated the entire officiating team in the matter,” said Martin.

He was also comforted by supportive words from one of England’s most famous club trainers.

“It felt good to have Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United, speak out on my behalf,” he told Sydöstran.

Hansson was upset, however, that foreign journalists had been bothering his parents at their home in southern Sweden in hopes of getting in touch with their referee son.

Story continues below…

“I don’t understand the point of visiting my parents, who are 73- and 75-years-old. They certainly haven’t officiated any match,” he said.

On orders from FIFA, the governing body of international football, Hansson is still unable to comment specifically about the game.

And despite his thoughts about quitting, he is looking forward to his next match, most likely a Champions League game sometime in mid-December.

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David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:05 November 24, 2009 by thevasin
Martin Hansson : "It wasn't my fault. It was an unfortunate event which had huge consequences for Ireland."

I really upset with your interview. And please don't bring Sir Alex Ferguson as your protector !!
15:41 November 24, 2009 by BrittInSweden
If he and referee's assistants didn't have line of sight to what happened then there isn't much he can do. Just another reason why football needs the "4th official" in the form of video replays.
15:43 November 24, 2009 by Åskar
@thevasin, so what should he do then? get himself a pair of X-ray specs?
15:56 November 24, 2009 by Osokin
He could had asessed the situation better, irish players lift their hands even before the goal is converted, listen to their agitated protests, see how the speed of the ball suddenly slows down in front of Henry, then the lukewarm celebration of the guilty french, a referee with experience sees the whole picture, even if he didn't see the handball, and the very least he should had taken his time and summon Henry and ask him what happened esp. in a match of this importance.
16:24 November 24, 2009 by Scepticion
@ Osokin

By soccer regulations, can a referee base his decision on what players tell him? I thought that the whole point of referees was to not be influenced by players.
16:30 November 24, 2009 by planethero
Need 4th official with tv, its the backward morons at Fifa you have to be angry with. Not the refs fault.
16:38 November 24, 2009 by Shanie
I think he should say that it is not 'only' his fault, he along with FIFA and Theiry Henry have played equally bad parts in this whole disaster. Hopefully FIFA will now take the opportunity to introduce a video ref or an official behind the goal, preferably a video ref.

And if there is any justice in the world Ireland and France will be drawn in the same group for the euro qualifiers next march, then we can take our own form of revenge by beating off the field.

Hansson is whimping out of this one and bringing some from of credibility to his name by mentioning Ferguson, the whole thing is no reason for his parents to be bothered though.
16:57 November 24, 2009 by Beavis
Not spotting 1 handball is forgivable.. but 2 handballs and 2 offsides??
18:06 November 24, 2009 by conboy
He is just a scapecoat just like Henry, FIFA and UEFA under Blatter and Platini are the real culprits. Their last minute decision to seed the lottery for the play off games automatically gerrymandered the prospects for Slovenia, Ireland and Bosnia to qualify thus assisting France, Portugal and the Ukraine as well as Russia. I'll be supporting Slovenia and Greece for their success in overcoming the FIFA corruption and love of tv rights money from larger countries. FIFA and UEFA can take their Respect campaign and shove it up their derriere! France are going to a world cup with no credibility among footballing people I predict they will reap the whirlwind...
19:30 November 24, 2009 by l33tshane
the rule is, the ref can't call it unless he is absolutely sure. if he or the linesman couldnt see if then they couldn't call it, not really his fault its just the way footie is. i don't think anyone's really to blame here - even henry.

it just happened and without video technology or more ref's it will happen again.
20:03 November 24, 2009 by Shanie
I like the picture at the top of this article, it looks like Shay Given is about to smack Hansson in the head for doing the 'Heil Hitler'.

Funny stuff!
20:07 November 24, 2009 by Sanjay Kumar
this gentlemen should accept the truth that he made wrong decision & should appologise to the football fans,on the other hand Fair Game the logo they have there FiFa should allow replay to settle the dust.
20:29 November 24, 2009 by laura ka baal
if he was having headache he should have taken swedish capital medicine ALVEDON. which works in all the way for swedes.
00:32 November 25, 2009 by thevasin
this gentlemen should accept the truth that he made wrong decision & should appologise to the football fans,on the other hand Fair Game the logo they have there FiFa should allow replay to settle the dust.

I agree with this comment !!
01:04 November 25, 2009 by jack sprat
Time for football to move into the 21st century and use video technology.

Time for the Irish to grow up and get over it, same as everyone else who has suffered a major injustice on the field.
01:43 November 25, 2009 by volvoman9
Good God!!!!! Has anyone remembered that this is a game? I have heard all the bleating about the fourth official and the use of video. I'm an American and a former player, official and coach. I feel one of the true beauties of this game is the human element. I've made my share of stinky calls. I've lost championship matches on missed calls. Yes I know there is a lot of money involved and the national pride but for God's sake let's not Americanize this sport too. Perhaps some flexibility by FIFA is warranted but don't ruin one of the last true examples of sport. Sure it hurts to be the victim of a bad or missed call but that is as much a part of this as the beach ball on the pitch or the bad weather.
03:10 November 25, 2009 by justanotherexpat
No-one mentioning the irony in the referee's name..........? Come on, people - slower than FIFA's ability to update the game :)
08:33 November 25, 2009 by themarr
Has the ref fotgot about what ferguson said about another ref not so long ago.Why was Hansson unable to see the hand ball?He should be fit enough for 120 minutes to be able to see every incident.The whole world has seen the replay and the man has yet to admit he made a mistake.Wait until it happens again to a team like Barca or Inter and see what Fifa do.
10:26 November 25, 2009 by jack sprat
Rubbish,themarr,..There can be very many times in any game when other players run between thr Refs line of sight to the ball, regardless of how fit he is.
12:06 November 25, 2009 by sherkovic
Yes IT wasnt his fault that he did not see it! but it was his fault that he did not consult it either with linesman, the fourth official or even the player in question who appeared to have handled the ball.

The Irish response was so spontaneous and svere that it was stupid not to call the 4th official and consult!
15:16 November 25, 2009 by square
Don't know what Volvoman9 means by "don't ruin one of the last true examples of sport". If anything in football is a true example of sport then we may aswell give up, the game is full of fairies and cheats and FIFA condone it.
17:31 November 25, 2009 by themarr
OK Jacksprat.when did the ref say he got it wrong or when did he come out and say as you did that he was blinded by other players and that something needs to be done to fix this promblem in football.No he done nothing and was told to say nothing and is expectimg to be in charge for a champions league game in december.It will be very interesting to see what game and how he does in that one.
01:49 November 26, 2009 by volvoman9
Square, I would never take issue with the presence of questionable character and behavior of individuals in any sport. However you must understand that I live in a society that is rife with so much commercialization that they fail to have any relevance to athletic achievement. I feel that football, at least, requires a high degree of athletic prowess as opposed to the American version which relies so much on over officiating and the use of electronic media to analyse every detail to a degree that removes the human element. I would hate to see this happen to world football. I feel the human element adds a dimension that is lost with the use of too many officials or too much gadgetry.
05:54 November 26, 2009 by RileyH
I just hope that this will be resolved.
21:41 November 27, 2009 by paddy03
Mr Hansson has proven himself to be incompetent as a referee!

As he is totally out of touch with the spirit of the game, he should RETIRE now before he does more harm.
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