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I promised mekkavandexter I'd keep an ear up for this. Zidane has released a statement regarding the incident that got him red carded in the last 10 minutes of extra time. As to be expected, the incident generated a lot of malarky from the press, including lip-readers who all sort of disagree with each other. At the start of his interview with Canal Plus about the issue, he apologized several times, "to all children and everyone who saw the act."

Zidane refused to repeat what Materazzi said, but he did mention that what was said insulted his mother and his sister. From the man himself:

"I tried not to listen to him but he repeated them several times. Sometimes words are harder than blows. When he said it for the third time, I reacted."

He doesn't condone how he reacted at all, and seems to be quite willing to be punished. However, he is adamant that he was standing up for himself. Further quotes found in Zinedine Zidane's wiki from his sole Canal+ interview thus far, also suggest that previous media suggestions that Materazzi called Zidane a "terrorist" were probably true.

The International Herald Tribune has a lovely article about the interview and the possibility that Zidane might lose his Golden Ball Award. FIFA has also opened the possibility for Zidane to lodge a formal appeal in writing, which could result in Zidane and Materazzi being called for a hearing with the governing body.

Finally, it turns out that Zidane refused to go out for his runner-up medal, rather than being prevented from doing so due to his red card. From the Star Online:

"'To see him act like that made me feel bad, for him and for fairplay.'

Furthermore, 'I was told that at the end of the game the French federationexecutives asked Zidane to go and receive his medal, and he replied that he didn't deserve any medal'." - Joseph 'Sepp' Blatter, FIFA President

The full Canal+ interview is up at Zidane's official website, here. I humbly beg for translations. (And I'm sure I have at least a handful of French speakers among my friends who might be reading this...)


Jul. 14th, 2006 06:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the translation! It was very helpful, and I insist, your English is not bad at all. :)

Zidane sounds remorseful in his conversation. It seems he did everything he could to take his part of the blame right after the headbutt by talking to the referee. He also refused his own runner-up medal to punish himself, it seems. Now we must see what Materazzi's case is, and certainly what FIFA decides specifically about this situation.

I don't think it will come to a point where Italy will lose its World Cup, as the headbutt didn't have very much to do with them winning (Italy won by penalty shootout, so the French team still held on with ten men to that time). Suspending Zidane is pointless since he's retired anyway. They could take away Zidane's Golden Ball, which I think even he expects and acknowledges when he says he deserves some form of punishment. Materazzi is still an active player. FIFA can do a lot with him, if it turns out he made racist remarks, which under FIFA's new regulations, is a very serious offence.

Interestingly, however we look at this, Zidane still has a future as a hero for many people. I don't think anyone really holds this one incident against him as his entire history as a soccer player, regardless of what the media says. It's unfortunate, but if Materazzi did make racist remarks, he did it against one of the players who was really an icon of diversity and racial tolerance in the game. So in the long run, it can be said, Materazzi will be the one with more to lose...
Jul. 15th, 2006 07:46 am (UTC)
Maybe one can say that Zidane preferred to defend his family than the world cup, which is after all understandable :) No matter what FIFA decides, Zidane is someone we can believe in, and it seems that it's isn't really the case for this Materazzi ^^;