An online petition calling for the Euro 2020 round-of-16 clash between France and Switzerland to be replayed has been signed by more than a quarter of a million people.
The petition was posted on French website Les Lignes Bougent by an aggrieved fan of Les Bleus, who was remonstrating over a perceived injustice at the end of the penalty shootout, which Switzerland won 5-4 to knock the world champions out of the tournament.
The petition claimed that Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer did not have his feet on or behind the goal line before saving Kylian Mbappe's decisive spot kick, in accordance with the Laws of the Game.
"During the penalty shootout for the France-Switzerland match, goalkeeper Sommer was not on his line during Mbappe's shot," read the petition, addressed directly to UEFA. "We request the cancellation of the qualification of Switzerland and therefore to replay the match. Sport must be played within the rules and that evening the rules were not respected."
Amazingly, the petition attracted 270,000 signatures from similarly indignant France supporters. The post received plenty of media attention in France and Switzerland, and even prompted enquiries to UEFA for an official response.
There was, however, one minor issue: replays of Mbappe's thwarted penalty show that Sommer's back foot was indeed planted firmly on the line at the moment the Paris Saint-Germain striker struck the ball.
Sommer's save sent Switzerland through to the quarterfinals of a major international tournament for the first time since the 1954 World Cup, which they hosted.
As a matter of UEFA protocol, Mbappe's penalty was thoroughly checked by VAR before the end of the match was officially signalled, further undermining the argument behind the petition. This led Les Lignes Bougent to contact Pierre in order to discuss taking the petition down.
"We spoke with the author of the petition to find out the follow-up he wanted to give to his petition and he indicated to us that he preferred to stop it," read a blog post on the site. "Let's be a good sport. The Swiss fully deserved their victory and the French have nothing to be ashamed of by fighting until the end!"
So rest assured, it will be Switzerland who face Spain in Saint Petersburg in Friday's first quarterfinal (LIVE on ESPN and ESPN+ at 12 p.m. ET in the U.S.).
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Football has been the catalyst for many futile petitions and online campaigns in recent years, many of which have been launched by fans seeking to right perceived wrongs.
France fans certainly have form when it comes to petulant postmatch petitions. More than 100,000 Les Bleus supporters signed a petition to have the Euro 2016 final replayed after watching their side lose against Portugal. Not much was offered in the way of further detail other than the fairly baseless assertion that Portugal somehow "cheated" and therefore "did not deserve to lift the trophy."
"GET HIM OUT."— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) October 19, 2020
Liverpool fans have started a petition aimed at dismissing the VAR official in charge of Saturday's 2-2 draw against Everton. pic.twitter.com/OlFDYZ77Z2
Liverpool fans have a long and storied history of creating petitions, be it against refereeing decisions, VAR officials, rival clubs or Sergio Ramos... or even to have Michael Owen dropped as a club ambassador for referring to Manchester United as "we." Indeed, Reds supporters became so notorious for their tantrums that a counter-petition was even launched in 2018, which sought to ban Liverpool fans from launching anymore petitions.
What do you think they're smoking over there at Emirates?— John W. Henry (@John_W_Henry) July 24, 2013
Liverpool fans found themselves on the other side of the fence in 2013 when Arsenal supporters set up a petition in a desperate bid to push through a deal to sign Luis Suarez. It began with the Gunners lodging their infamous "£40 million + £1" offer to trigger Suarez's release clause, only for Liverpool to reject the approach with the club's principal owner John W. Henry tweeting: "What do you think they're smoking over there at Emirates?" This led to Arsenal fans launching a "Free Luis Suarez" campaign, dedicated to helping the Uruguay striker leave Anfield. Suarez eventually did just that a year later, although instead of north London it was Barcelona that he made his next destination.
Forza @juventusfc.— adidas Football (@adidasfootball) May 15, 2018
Introducing the new 2018/19 Juventus Home kit, exclusively available through adidas and official club stores: https://t.co/jIPnLuDHfQ#HereToCreate pic.twitter.com/Oag0CEiGtR
Juventus fans, disgusted by images of their club's 2018-19 kit, flocked in their droves to sign a petition after taking umbrage at the large, black "Jeep" sponsor patch affixed to the shirt. Over 17,000 suitably disgusted Bianconeri supporters signed the Change.org petition, pleading with the club to redesign the logo -- but alas, to no avail.
Just days before the 2016 Champions League final, a petition titled "Sporting Justice" appeared in Spain demanding that Real Madrid be stripped of five of their European Cup titles.
Real were due to face Atletico Madrid in the final and potentially claim a record-extending 11th European title, though the petition claimed that the five cups the club won between 1955 and 1966 be quashed as the competition then didn't represent the same level of excellence needed to win the Champions League of today.
Unsurprisingly, UEFA refused to accommodate the request.