Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

Manager Ascends To New Level Of Consciousness, Makes Completely Logical Connection Between The Handball Rule And Brexit

Photo: Ashley Allen (Getty)

The modern discourse is a never-ending cascade of Expanding Brain memes. Everyone plays their part, and when Deadspin is doing its job well, we provide takes that belong to one of the latter panels, ones hopefully more sophisticated than this but less out-there than this. Proving that our angle on the handball call that ruined Saturday’s Manchester City-Tottenham match wasn’t the most galaxy-brained of them all, unemployed manager Ian Holloway did us one better, morphing into a meditating Dr. Manhattan with the light of a thousand suns erupting from his skull by making the case that the bad handball rule is yet another example of why England needs Brexit.

Here are Holloway’s original comments from yesterday’s episode of Sky Sports’ The Debate:

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You can practically see Holloway’s brain growing as he speaks. He actually starts off well when talking about the shortcomings of the handball rule:

For me it doesn’t make sense, the handball [rule]. Because if it’s not handball for both, how can you assess that? And to be fair, is that clear and obvious? They forgot the most important thing of all. Their job is to not re-referee the game, it’s to be clear and obvious.

Then you start to see a strange glow peaking out from his ears, and soon the entire set is illuminated in the radiant light of true genius:

So I don’t think that’s our boys making up that new change of law. I think that’s people telling us what we need to do with our game. Now, they should stop doing that.

I hope we get out, Brexit, because that’s we all voted for and sort that out because you cannot have someone telling us how to do our own game.

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The English media predictably ran with the hilariously bizarre quotes. Some outlets accused Holloway of blaming the handball rule directly on the E.U. This is not so, says the 56-year-old Englishman, who has since tried to defend himself by clarifying his point.

“I’m not that stupid,” Holloway told the Daily Mirror. “People don’t listen. What I’ve said, and I can say it very clearly, is I’m sick and fed up of being told what to do by people who aren’t running our country.”

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Holloway wants everyone to know he’s not a total nitwit who believes the E.U. itself handed down the new handball rule. Instead, he was simply likening the way the foreign bodies of FIFA and UEFA shove new rules down English soccer’s throat to the E.U.’s power to unilaterally foist laws and regulations onto the U.K..

In his own words:

“FIFA and UEFA have brought these rules in, they told us we’ve got to use VAR that I’ve got no problem with, but that handball rule that they’ve made up, I don’t want to listen to them. That’s nonsensical.

“It’s just in the same way that I’m sick and fed up of us in the UK being told what to do by the EU.

“Brexit is nothing to do with the football rules, is it? I’m not that stupid, so I suggest people wash their ears out and listen.

“What I’m saying is, as an English person, I’m sick and fed up of being told what we’ve got to do. Our country is fantastic. If you let us make our own rules up, do what we want to do, we’ll be in control of it a lot better.

[...]

“As for Brexit, that’s totally different. All I’m saying is I’m sick and fed up of our Prime Minister and other parties arguing over something we all voted for and we all want them to produce for us, whether it’s a no deal or not. That’s what I’m sick and fed up with.”

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Holloway’s analogy would be more convincing if FIFA and UEFA really were the ones who dragged an unwilling Premier League into ratifying the new handball rule. Instead, like all of soccer’s rules, the handball one came from the International Football Association Board, a committee that consists of eight representatives: four from FIFA, and one each from the Football Associations of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Not only do all four national associations hail from the U.K., but the IFAB’s technical director is a retired referee from England.

Holloway’s comparison might be inapt and flat-out wrong, but The Discourse is always better when the Cosmic Man shows up in the brain meme’s final panel. For that reason, we must thank him for his contributions.

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[Daily Mirror]

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