Quite frankly, it's obvious that Italian soccer heading into the World Cup was in disarray for their confirmed illicit fixing of the top teams, and it would only be ironic poetic justice for FIFA to show they are serious against racism and take the trophy away from Italy. We all know that Materazzi slurred Zidane, he even admits it himself - but of course the debate will be was it racist or not and to what level of severity will FIFA actually levy?
On July 11, 2006, FIFA declared its intent to officially investigate the incident with Zidane. An Amendment regarding discrimination to Art. 55, Par. 4 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code stipulates that "if any player, official or spectator publicly disparages, discriminates against or denigrates someone in a defamatory manner on account of race, colour, language, religion or ethnic origin, or perpetrates any other discriminatory and/or contemptuous act" and can be attributed to a certain team, the team in question faces deduction of points in the group stage resp. disqualification in the knockout stage.
The new provisions had been adopted on 28 March 2006 and may lead to the FIFA Executive Committee imposing harsh sanctions and even disallowing Italy's team the World Cup victory if Materazzi is convicted of having insulted Zidane with racial slurs.
"I did insult him, it's true," Materazzi said in Tuesday's Gazzetta dello Sport. "But I categorically did not call him a terrorist. I'm not cultured and I don't even know what an Islamic terrorist is."
So what does this say about Materazzi? A) he's guilty of insulting Zidane and it is evident that it must have been severe enough to Zidane that it resulted in him head butting him. Remember folks, racism isn't about what you think a word might mean to someone else, it's what it means to those who hear it. B) It also proves that either Materazzi is incredibly stupid (which I don't think is the case) or he is obviously dodging the truth (like a coward) by trying to assert that he has no idea as to what an Islamic terrorist is. Italy is one of the United States strongest European allies on the War on Terror - I'm going to go out on a limb here and call Materazzi on this - that's bullsh!t buddy.
He added: 'For me the mother is sacred, you know that.'
Even Materazzi acknowledges that there are of course boundaries when it comes to taunting and insulting on the pitch.
You have to ponder this - FIFA made significant attempts to curb racism in this latest World Cup yet when it came down to the final match, it seemed to be all to no avail. So what better way would FIFA have than to disqualify Italy and their style of play from the World Cup victory and blame it on racism? Do you think that might just be large enough to get people's attention on the issue?
Think about it - most people would probably generally still regard Italy as the champion anyways and the game is in the past - but FIFA has to be concerned about what it can do for the future of the game. While perhaps technically Italy would have the Cup title revoked for an ailment (racism) that we all know to be detriment to the vitality of the game and for that - what better way for FIFA to forever lay down the law for all to see and abide by for the future on out.
[Edited 2006-07-11 18:54:12]