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Wednesday, 11 September, 2002, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Henry gets the message
BBC Sport Online's Stuart Roach

Thierry Henry celebrates his winning goal against Manchester City
Henry flashes a message to a friend
Ask Thierry Henry what his favourite Texas hit is, and the chances are he will single out the 1996 hit, Say What You Want.

But Henry has been quick to discover the title is not the adopted theme tune of Fifa.

Henry celebrated his winner for Arsenal against Manchester City on Tuesday by revealing a T-shirt bearing the message "For the new born Kyd".

The line was allegedly aimed at close friend and Texas lead singer Sharleen Spiteri, who had given birth to daughter Misty Kyd Heath earlier that day.

Nice touch? Not according to Fifa, which would have preferred the Frenchman to have sent a card or a bunch of flowers.

Texas lead singer Sharleen Spiteri
Texas singer Sharleen Spiteri is a friend of Henry

Fifa is placing national football associations under pressure to crack down hard on anyone breaking their new legislation.

Following May's annual meeting of the International Football Association Board, the game's law making body, those new guidelines now include a change in the rules surrounding goal celebrations.

As from 1 July this year, Fifa insisted that undershirts must contain no messages of any kind, whether they be of a political, commercial religious nature.

It marks a shift in attitude by Fifa, which had previously become more lenient towards players celebrating in extravagant fashion.

Players are no longer booked for over celebrating or removing their shirt, as long as they do not excessively waste time.

But using T-shirts as marketable bulletin boards is a definite no-no.

The new Fifa guidlelines state:

  • Undershirts must contain no messages of any kind, but be of only one plain colour.

  • While time wasting is still the major consideration, with referees under instruction not to permit it, the Board was more concerned about players deliberately taking off their shirts to reveal messages on their undershirts, sometimes of a political, religious, commercial or social nature.

Henry is merely the latest player in a long series of T-shirt protesters.

In 1997, England striker Robbie Fowler showed his support for Liverpool's sacked dockers by lifting his shirt to reveal a slogan supporting their strike action.

Two years later, Crystal Palace midfielder Sasa Curcic used his shirt to protest against Nato's bombing of his native Serbia during the Balkan conflict.

Some slogans have been more commercial, including Ian Wright's celebration of the goals which saw him become Arsenal's record goalscorer.

"Just done it" was as much a twist on Arsenal sponsor Nike's advertising slogan as it was a celebration of overhauling Bastin's 178-goal Gunners haul.

Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler
Robbie Fowler makes a political statement

But religious declarations were the fashion at the World Cup, with Brazil's victorious stars declaring their faith just in time to avoid the 1 July rule change.

While Henry's shirty message created a bit of a flap, it was not enough for the FA to feel his collar.

FA spokesman Adrian Bevington said Henry would be sent a letter reminding him of the regulations.

Bevington said: "Clearly, this was intended as a goodwill gesture towards the new-born baby and we accept that.

"However, it is a breach of the international board regulations.

"We therefore feel the need to remind him of those regulations."

See also:

11 Sep 02 | Eng Prem
10 Sep 02 | Eng Prem
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