Britain’s glorious sporting history could be due for a shake-up today, if FIFA take a leaf out of the ICC’s book and award the 1986 World Cup to England. The ICC set a precedent when the result of the controversial 2006 Oval Test between England and Pakistan was switched back to an England win following a meeting in Australia on Sunday. Citing this decision, the FA has lobbied FIFA to reconsider England’s exit from the 1986 World Cup following Argentina’s infamous ‘hand of god’ quarter-final win.
FA spokesman Keith Davis is confident that FIFA will make the right decision. ‘Even Maradona has admitted that his first goal against us in that game was a hand-ball. If this goal was disallowed and a penalty given, we’d have had a better chance of beating Argentina. It would’ve then been a simple matter of beating Belgium and West Germany, and the World Cup would have been ours!’ News of this appeal has not gone unchallenged among other footballing nations, with German Chancellor Merkel hitting out against the FA and pointing out that if anyone should win the 1986 World Cup it should be semi-finalists Germany.
However the FA is confident that a deal can be struck to silence German protests. ‘We’ve approached the Germans with a proposal: we’ll reverse the final score of World War One if they drop their objections to FIFA. They came close to winning this fixture anyway: if their spring Kaiserschlacht offensive had been a success we’d all be eating sauerkraut by now.’ German authorities are reported to be sorely tempted by the deal, and the FA is quick to dismiss any moral objections. ‘What are a few million lives compared to the glory of winning the World Cup?’
Other sporting bodies are watching developments with interest according to Davis. ‘The FA is pioneering a new way of generating British sporting success. From England’s recently disappointing rugby performance to Jim Clarke’s controversial knockout from the 1996 Tiddliwinks championship, everything is potentially up for review.’ he says. ‘Except for Tim Henman’s career – we can only flog this horse so far.’
(Written 3 Feb 2009)