FIFA rule out replay between France and Ireland over Henry handball

20 November 2009 01:48
FIFA have ruled that the World Cup play-off between the Republic of Ireland and France cannot be replayed.

The Irish FA and Republic manager Giovanni Trapattoni yesterday made an impassioned plea to FIFA and the French Federation after Thierry Henry's blatant double handball led to the extra-time goal that knocked Ireland out in such controversy.

The Irish players, still visibly shocked, claimed they were victims of a conspiracy to ensure Europe's leading nations made the final.

But a statement on FIFA's website read: 'FIFA hastoday replied to the request made by the Football Associationof Ireland (FAI) to replay the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africaplay-off match held on November 18 2009 between France and the Republicof Ireland in Paris.

'In the reply, FIFAstates that the result of the match cannot be changed and the matchcannot be replayed. As is clearly mentioned in the Laws of the Game,during matches, decisions are taken by the referee and these decisionsare final.'

Enlarge He's a bit handy: Henry sets up Gallas for France's controversial winner in Paris

FIFA's response will now be considered by the FAI's board of management, which sits for a pre-arranged meeting this afternoon.

The FAI said in a statement: 'Football Association of Ireland today confirmed that it has received correspondence from FIFA rejecting the Association's request for a replay of the World Cup play-off match between France and the Republic of Ireland. 

'A previously scheduled meeting of the FAI board of management will take place this afternoon where the matter will be considered.  No further comment will be made until this meeting has concluded.'

The announcement was not a surprise - a senior source at the world governing body had said yesterday (Thursday) they would have no option but to reject the demand.

The FIFA source said: 'There is no way the game can replayed. To do so would cause absolute chaos for football. If it was replayed then every match in the future would also be subject to these calls for a replay any time a referee misses an incident.

'FIFA's rules are absolutely clear. Law 5 states that a referee's decision on points of fact are final. That is the end of it. You cannot replay the match on this basis.

'You have to have a rule that says the referee's judgement is always right.'

        HAVE YOUR SAY.     Have you lost all respect for Thierry Henry? France star Thierry Henry blatantly cheated with his handball that helped his country reach the World Cup finals at the expense of Republic of Ireland. The forward earned a reputation as one of the greatest players to ever grace the Premier League with class on and off the pitch. But is that now overshadowed by his act of cheating? TELL US WHAT YOU THINK The wording of Law 5 of the Laws of the Game states: 'The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match, are final.

'The referee may only change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee or the fourth official, provided that he has not restarted play or terminated the match.'

However, the scandal has divided France and has even been discussed by politicians. President Nicolas Sarkozy has refused to enter the debate but his finance minister Christine Lagarde suggests FIFA should change their rules to allow a replay.

'I am obviously very happy that the team is in the World Cup but I think it's very sad to have qualified on this, well, on this cheating,' she said.

'I think it would be good, in such circumstances, to decide maybe to replay the match.

'FIFA would do well to look at the rules. If they are bad, they should be challenged.'

The FAI had claimed there was a precedent because FIFA ordered Uzbekistan to replay Bahrain in 2006 World Cup qualifier after the referee made a 'technical error' after a penalty had been awarded.

However, in that instance, the referee was guilty of wrongly applying the rules rather than missing an offence - he awarded an indirect free-kick against Uzbekistan when one of their players encroached on the Bahrain penalty area as the Uzbeks successfully converted a penalty.

The correct interpretation would have been to order the penalty to be retaken.

Henry's handball would almost certainly have been spotted by an the extra assistant referee behind each goal-line - the system that is the brainchild of UEFA president Michel Platini that is being trialled in this season's Europa League.

Ref justice: Sean St Ledger (left) and Shay Given argue with Swedish official Martin Hansson after France had grabbed their controversial winner in Paris

Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Ray Houghton admitted he did not expect FIFA to order a replay as they are governed by the rules but he appealed to the French Football Federation to play the Irish again.

'I really feel it is up to the French Foot Federation,' he said. 'If they are unhappy with the way they have qualified then they should ask for a replay. You don't want people going to the World Cup on the back of conning the referee or the officials.

'Surely for the sake of fair play, it should be replayed.'

And Houghton called for FIFA president Sepp Blatter to make a public statement on the decision by football's world governing body.

'Where is Sepp Blatter? Why hasn't he come out and stood up and told everyone how it is.

'He's very good at telling other countries how to run their game. It really needed the top man to come out and tell the footballing public why they have made this decision.'

The France Football Federation believe the controversy should now be put aside

'FIFA is the ruler of the game and we have to abide by what they say,' an FFF spokesman said. 'What they decide we have to do and they have ruled it will not be replayed. So we should move on.

'The federation's president and the coach and all of us involved feel that it was a bitter qualification. But we don't decide how we qualify.

'We played poorly and it came down to a referee's mistake, but that's the way it went. It happened on our side, in our favour, but sometimes in history it goes against you.

'The Irish were really great, they played brilliantly and we played poorly. We were awful. And then at the end we achieved the qualification in this particular way thanks to a referee's mistake.

'If it had favoured the Irish side well you can imagine how people would have felt and reacted here, the French media, the French team, the FA, everyone.'

 Thierry Henry is not a cheat, says England star David BeckhamHow idol Thierry Henry became a pariah: From pin-up to a figure of ridicule across the worldPlay it again! As the football world turns on cheat Thierry Henry, furious Irish demand World Cup rematchGRAHAM POLL: Thierry Henry's handball is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to controlling World Cup starsSportsmail's guide to the top 10 worst Frenchmen ever. and there's no HenryThe 31 beasts who lie in wait for Fabio Capello's Three Lions in South AfricaTrapattoni calls for video technology to prevent repeat of Henry handballAngry Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given blasts 'cheat' Thierry Henry after suffering World Cup play-off heartbreak in ParisHenry is no longer a national hero in France - cheat should hang his headMARTIN SAMUEL: It's so simple, let's force some honesty back into the gameVIRALS: Thierry Henry's cheating hand suffers at the hands of Internet jokers McCarthy: No chance in hell that I would have sat there with HenryRepublic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni demands FIFA to act after referee Martin Hansson allows Thierry Henry handball goal to stand Swedish media turn on referee Martin Hansson for Henry handball blunder

 Explore more:People:Martin Hansson, Nicolas Sarkozy, Shay Given, Thierry HenryPlaces:Paris, Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Bahrain, France, Africa, EuropeOrganisations:French Football Federation, Football Association of Ireland

Source: Daily_Mail