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20 Nov 2009 10:10
The Football Association of Ireland on Thursday urged Fifa to order the World Cup playoff with France to be replayed after Thierry Henry helped knock out Ireland with a clear handball.
Video replays showed Henry used his hand to stop the ball going out of play in extra-time of Wednesday’s playoff in Paris, before passing to William Gallas to head the goal which gave France a 2-1 win over the two legs.
FAI chief executive John Delaney said the organisation had written to the French Football Federation (FFF) asking for the match to be replayed.
A clearly angry Delaney urged Fifa to give Ireland another chance to qualify for next year’s finals in South Africa.
“This isn’t just a league match, it wasn’t just a game of 36 matches over a season. This was a defining game that the whole world was watching,” he told a press conference.
“If Fifa believe in fairplay and integrity ...
this is their opportunity to step forward.
“From the French FA’s point of view, they need to look at themselves and look at this situation.
“Thierry Henry’s their captain, he’s a wonderful footballer, but does he want to remembered like Maradona was in 1986, does he want his legacy to be this handball?” he asked, referring to Diego Maradona’s infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England at the 1986 World Cup.
However, Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni said earlier he did not believe that Fifa would grant a replay.
A Fifa spokesman told AFP that they had yet to receive anything from the FAI.
The Irish football body pointed to a precedent: a Fifa decision in 2005 to invalidate the result of a World Cup qualification match between Ukbekistan and Bahrain on the basis of “a technical error by the referee of the match”.
The draw for the 32-nation World Cup finals is scheduled to take place in Cape Town on December 4.—AFP
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