As Patrik Batiston lay stricken on a stretcher, his arm fell limply to the side. His captain, Michel Platini, lifted up his team mates slumped arm and kissed his hand.
All the while, German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher stood emotionless, hands on hips, looking for all the world rather inconvenienced as he waited to take a goal kick.
A goal kick. Because despite what had happened, neither the referee nor the linesman had awarded a penalty, free kick or a red card for Schumacher’s outrageous challenge on French midfielder Patrik Batiston.
Batiston had only been on a few minutes for France in the 1982 FIFA World Cup semi-final against arch-rivals West Germany. With the score locked at 1-1, French captain Michel Platini played a wonderful through ball to the oncoming Batiston. As Batiston approached the edge of the area, German keeper Harald Schumacher came hurtling out of his area. Batiston poked the ball past Schumacher only to see the ball trickle past the post. In the meantime, Schumacher catapulted himself into Batiston. Batiston took the full brunt of the German 'keeper's hip bone into his head.
Batiston suffered concussion, a fractured jaw, teeth knocked out and spent some time in a coma. He was out of the game for some 6 months. Germany progressed to the final only to be beaten by Italy.
The referee claimed to have not seen the incident. The problem was, neither did the linesman. Or at least he did not raise his flag to alert the referee of the incident.
Once again a match defining incident in FIFA’s premier tournament went unpunished. Whether it was down to refereeing incompetence or a lack of communication between on field officials, it was clear that something had to change.
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