France rule out World Cup replay
21 Nov 2009 - 11:39:05
The Republic of Ireland's hopes of reaching next summer's World Cup finals in South Africa have finally been banished after the French Football Federation said they would not be willing to replay Wednesday's controversial play-off game.
The Republic had wanted a rematch after France's winning goal in the two-legged encounter was scored only after Thierry Henry had handled the ball.
FIFA had earlier ruled that the result would stand although Henry said a replay would "be the fairest solution".
But the French Football Federation have released a statement, which read: "The FFF understands the disappointment and bitterness of the Irish players, management and supporters.
"The Federation never sought to deny the refereeing error which saw the equalising French goal allowed.
"At the end of the match and, because French football itself has suffered in the past by events of a similar nature, the FFF management expressed their regrets and sympathy to their Irish counterparts.
"During matches, decisions are taken by the referee and these decisions are final. As a result, the result of the match cannot be changed and the match cannot be replayed.
"The FIFA decision is binding and applies to both federations."