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Stephane Lannoy reveals how Brazilian forward Luis Fabiano induced him to make a mistake in accepting a goal controlled twice by both arms…

Ivory Coast may have long since left the World Cup but grievances towards Frenchman Stephane Lannoy who officiated their second match against Brazil are yet to leave millions of hearts in the west African nation.

Diplomatic and social relations between Ivory Coast and former colonial power France have been very difficult since a civil war broke out in Ivory Coast in September 2002. Many Ivorians still believe France backed the rebels who led the assaults, although the French authorities have always stated they have no dealings with the rebels.

France has also contributed greatly in restoring peace in Ivory Coast by hosting and sponsoring a number of peace accords between warring factions. Things seem normal now and general elections are in preparation, but bitterness for anything French still lingers in many parts of the country.

And the 3-1 loss to Brazil after the French referee allowed Luis Fabiano’s goal, which the Sevilla forward clearly controlled once with each arm, is arousing the animosity against France here.

Lannoy, however, says it wasn’t his fault that Fabiano led him to make the mistake of allowing a goal, which many Ivorians feel demoralised their players, leading to an eventual 3-1 loss.

According to French newspaper L'equipe, Lannoy said he doubted Fabiano’s rapid manoeuvre initially. “I had a doubt on how or where Fabiano controlled the ball before scoring. I wasn’t sure if it was the elbow, the upper arm or the chest. So I decided to have a talk with him, there he said it was chest. Thereafter, I could do nothing but allow the goal. It was after the match I realised that Fabiano had been dishonest,” Lannoy said.

But will this explanation be enough to pacify Ivorian fans?

Local media have been calling on football fanatics to let bygones be bygones, let’s hope the message sinks in.

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