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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Should Switzerland qualify for the WC2006?

It's a hard question. Speaking after the tunnel trouble at the end of the play-off in the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium, amid scenes of a melee just inside the tunnel entrance, I question the lead-up to the game. Turkey supporters chanted abuse at the Swiss team as they arrived in Istanbul, a banner held up read 'Welcome to Hell', and a 2-hour delay in the airport seemd to be aimed at unsettling the Swiss.

This can be seen as a reaction to The Turkish Football Federation complaints after the 1st leg in regard to the Swiss fans booing the Turkish anthem, security officials shouting at the Turkish players, and coach Fatih Terim denied access to the post-match conference. A Swiss security spokeswoman claimed Terim was asked to wait 2 minutes until coach Jacob Kuhn finished answering questions, and subsequently stormed off.

The TFF called on their supporters to show no reaction to the complaints and instead support the side to win the game and qualify. After what turned out to be a superb match with 6 goals, afterwards tempers and tensions flared. TV replays clearly showed Swiss midfielder Benjamin Huggel lash out with his right foot at a Turkey staff member, who didn't retaliate, and then immediately Turkey and former Aston Villa defender Alpay equally lashed out at Swiss forward Marco Streller, who didn't retaliate. Huggel then grabbed Alpay around the neck, both players falling to the ground amidst a crowd of people inside the entrance. Deplorable scenes. Swiss and Auxerre defender Stephane Grichting received an injury to his scrotum that resulted in internal bleeding and the necessity of a catheter, recovery expecting to take 10 days.

FIFA are to hold a meeting on the incidents this morning, which thankfully led to no crowd trouble and therefore no casualties or fatalities. Word from the Swiss camp stated Huggel was acting in self-defence, which seems very contradictory looking at the footage. It sounds draconian to suggest, but such scenes should follow explusion from any competition for any team involved in such a manner. A play-off between Norway and Slovakia should follow, the winner taking the place of the Swiss.

Switzerland coach Kuhn: "It is a scandal. I have never seen anything like it. No one has every seen anything like it."

FIFA President Joseph Blatter: "I can tell you this, not as a Swiss, but as the president of FIFA, that we will act here and we will act tough."

Well done to the Socceroos and the Trinidadians, who both secured their first entrance into the World Cup. Australia haven't featured for over 3 decades. The Czechs and Spaniards secured their places with well-earned performances from their respective 1st legs.



Blogger T said...

Intriguing question Redsman. Admittedly I have yet to see the pictures of the incidents that occured post-match, but despite this I consider Swiss expulsion as too stiff a punishment for tempers flaring after a high-intensity match.

For me, the more proportionate punishment is hefty fines and official warnings about the players' responsibilty towards the game of football.

Can you tell me Redsman how the incident compares to the one follwing the Euro 2004 qualifying match with England playing Turkey that also had ugly scenes in the tunnel (again involving Alpay!) post-match?

P.S. I'm happy for Phillipe Senderos that he is going to the World Cup... and also relieved for him after his defence nearly let slip a dominating lead!

11/17/2005 12:23 pm

Blogger BlindJak said...

I think kicking the whole team out seems a bit rough when it seems only one player lost it (like T, I have seen no pictures of this yet). For the rest of the squad getting kicked out of the WC would be devastating after all their hard work.

I say ban the violent culprits for a significant number of games 5-10 would cover any ‘friendlies’ leading up to and probably include at least he first round of the tournament. Effectively losing the players their place in squad.

But the Swiss team’s treatment should also be looked at. No matter the circumstance of the first game. The two hour delay is deplorable and unfortunately not an isolated incident as all teams at club and international level seem to get this kind of welcome.

11/17/2005 12:47 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

Good articles as usual lads (and ladies?!?!?)! I am an generally speaking...I had a tear in my eye when we qualified!

The question of behaviour is of course controversial...and it is totally unacceptable to lash out at other people, players or staff...or even fans as El Hadji Diouf has found out!

Exclusion of individuals would be enough...but the TEAM should stay. My 2 cents...

Sorry...too much travelling...not enough time to catch up with all the goings on!

11/17/2005 1:11 pm

Blogger BlindJak said...

Just reading on Reuters that the Swiss team left the pitch “under a hailstorm of missiles” and Turkish coach Fatih Terim was quoted as saying “…I have never seen two such immoral referees, both here and there”. Jose got branded as the enemy of football for less.

11/17/2005 1:20 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please look all of the Video!
The swiss teamplayer Benjamin Huggel just take a revange for the physiotherapists kick at swiss player Behrami!

11/17/2005 3:17 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

einmal kebap!

mit alles ?

nö! ohne wm !!

hopp schwiiz - fu*k turkyie

11/17/2005 4:04 pm

Anonymous Markus Schaffner said...

I think you got quiet a few things wrong here. The footage actually starts a few seconds earlier than the kick by huggel. The staff member first kicked Valon Bahirami who scored the second goal in the first match. Huggel saw it and retaliated for his teammate. And then seconds later, a split second before Huggel grabs Alpay, you can clearly see the same staff member kicking huggel in the back, forcing both Huggel and Alpay to the ground.
complete footage:

11/17/2005 4:22 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks Markus and anon for further enlightening us on what occured... I will certainly be taking a close look at the footage.

If what you say is true- and I have no reason to believe otherwise- it would provide a plausible explanation for why the victorious Huggel should get involved in a confrontation that quickly got very ugly.

Good to hear from you again Nturtle, and congrats on the long overdue Socceroos' World Cup playoff success... injuries notwithstanding (Viduka and Kewell now have the inspriation they need to stay in total fitness!) they can provide formidible opposition for most nations' next summer.

If you like, you can be our offical Socceroos' commentator come World Cup time?!

11/17/2005 5:03 pm

Blogger Skippy said...

I have seen the fooage, albeit a very brief clip. The scence were disgraceful.

I think both team should be punished for their respective parts.

Shame, that Turkey did not make it. They can play good football, and were unfortunate to go out.

I am really looking forward to the World Cup. Some of the new comers will casue an upset or two. Australia and Ivory Coast will give anyone a tough match.

11/17/2005 5:19 pm

Blogger SKG said...

the fact that turkey always seem to be involved in these situations makes it clear in my mind that there the ones who should be punished. the swiss shouldn't be thrown out of the wc but individual players maybe (especially the one who is seen kicking out - shocking)

i think fifa will be over the moon that turkey haven't qualified.

i'm looking forward to the draw in early december. apparantly blatter has hointed that england might not even be seeded!

11/17/2005 5:24 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks, Markus, and Anon (3.17PM). I have looked at the footage provided by Markus, though he may have had a clearer view than myself. The footage slowed down and you can see the very same Turkey staff member kicked out at a Swiss player, named as Valon Bahirami. After that the footage stopped and though the audio played on, the footage itself had stopped.

I can see the justification from Huggel's point of view, though I cannot condone it. The staff member should have been reported to the referee or the FIFA official. I imagine that staff member, Huggel, and Alpay will particularly, if not solely, be punished. It would be very useful if Sky Sports were to receive that footage, as they have only shown that which I described above.

I agree that to exclude the team from the World Cup would be extremely harsh, and if FIFA were to find any discrepancy, which is not in doubt, they'll take appropriate action. Blindjak, this may answer your point regarding Terim's comments. Certainly nothing of this sort must happen again.

T, comparison of this incident to that after the Turkey v England Euro2004 qualifier is slightly similar. A number of players from both sides became involved in a little fracas at that time, and being half-time, little composure came into the sides for the second half. Last night's actions would be the worse of the two, for seeing the staff member kick out as the footage above showed, which could have been the catalyst for the ensuing melee, and also for Grichting's injury. FIFA may well look into the occurence of such scenes having now taking place twice in Turkey.

I'm not comfortable with the 'Welcome to Hell' banner, personally, I think it gives a poor impression of the build-up to the game and adds to the tension that can turn ugly, as it could have done after the missiles thrown. Such a banner should be banned outright.


11/17/2005 5:54 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Markus and anon said are correct. It is irresponsible reporting by Sky to disseminate a video with that first portion edited out. The Swiss didn't have time to report the initial incident to an official; they were running for their lives. The "Welcome to Hell" banner is the least of the problems when the Swiss were pelted by all sorts of objects from the "fans," their bus was hit by eggs and rocks (rumours that there were bullet holes as well), the "security" officials got involved in the melee instead of trying to control it, and Turkey had been warned/fined three times previously during this qualifying campaign. It all speaks to a pattern of complete lack of security. Imagine if this had happened in England? Blatter and co. should have taken action much earlier. They must be punished severely or they will continue. Perhaps not banning them from 2010, but forcing them to play at neutral sites or empty stadiums for the qualification matches.

Anyway, congratulations to the Swiss, Spain, Czechs, Aussies, and TNT (though I think it should have been Uruguay vs. TNT and Australia vs. Bahrain).

11/18/2005 5:06 am


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