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No butts - violence on the pitch must be condemned

Published 28/12/2006

Your reporter (Belfast Telegraph, December 22) writes: 'Zinedine Zidane's reactionary head-butt to the chest of Marco Materazzi during the World Cup soccer final - defending the honour of his mother and sister - showed incredible composure under provocation.'

I, and several of my sporting friends, were amazed and disturbed to read the promotion and condoning of such an attitude. Surely to 'justify' a physical assault on another individual involves factors such as reacting to a physical assault that you have already sustained, or pre-empting a physical assault you believe is about to take place.

I accept that this particular occasion is deemed to be different because it was perpetuated by someone who was 'a sporting hero' during the 'beautiful game'.

However, I saw it at the time of the incident for exactly what it was - purely a physical assault without any legal justification (even under French law) and I also realised at the time that it would all be forgiven by the majority, particularly the French sports fans and football fans in general.

I do not wish to read in my paper that this incident 'showed incredible composure' as this is obviously untrue. I might accept 'slight loss of control' as this at least verges towards the truth.

The writer's current take on head-butting during a game seems to be lacking in genuine understanding of what sport is still supposed to be about.

Very Concerned Londonderry

Belfast Telegraph

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