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FIFA turn down Ireland appeal for World Cup replay
The Republic of Ireland have failed with an appeal to have their controversial World Cup play-off against France replayed.
The Football Association of Ireland had called on the game's global governing body to sanction a replay of their play-off second-leg against France in Paris after Wednesday's first encounter ended in contentious circumstances.
France captain Thierry Henry admitted to handling the ball before crossing for William Gallas to score the extra-time equaliser which eventually saw Lew Bleus progress to next summer's finals in South Africa.
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But following an appeal from the FAI to replay the game, FIFA have issued a statement in which they claim a second bite of the cherry for the Irish is impossible.
"FIFA has today, 20 November 2009, replied to the request made by the Football Association of Ireland to replay the play-off match held on 18 November between France and the Republic of Ireland in Paris," it read.
"In the reply, FIFA states that the result of the match cannot be changed and the match cannot be replayed.
"As is clearly mentioned in the 'Laws of the Game', during matches, decisions are taken by the referee and these decisions are final."
On Thursday, FAI chief executive John Delaney revealed that the appeal had been lodged as he felt the association owed it to the Irish fans.
"We have got to do what we have to do," he said. "We owe it to the players, who were magnificent. The supporters were incredible.
"It is up to the people who govern the game now. Every time I go to a FIFA congress, I hear about fair play and integrity.
"This was not a league game. This was a defining game with the whole world watching and if FIFA believe in fair play and integrity, this is their opportunity to step forward.
"From the French FA point of view, they need to look at themselves in this situation.
"Henry is their captain and a wonderful footballer, but does he want to be like Diego Maradona and his legacy to be this handball, this goal that got them to the World Cup in an unjust manner?"
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