FAI in fresh replay plea
The FAI have launched a fresh plea with their French counterparts to agree to a replay of their controversial play-off match.
By Jamie Casey
Last Updated: 20/11/09 7:13pm
The Football Association of Ireland have launched a fresh plea with their French counterparts to agree to a replay of their controversial play-off match.
Thierry Henry's blatant handball in the build up to William Gallas' goal which sent France through to the World Cup at the Republic of Ireland's expense has been the subject of much debate since Wednesday night.
A 1-1 draw on a pulstaing night in the Stade de France proved to be enough for the hosts, with Nicolas Anelka's away goal from the first leg in Croke Park helping to see them through.
Ireland, however, are refusing to let the handball issue lie, believing Henry's disregard for the rules should not prevent them the right to contest at the finals.
Football's governing body Fifa have already rejected an appeal for a replay but with the offending player, and France captain, Henry admitting that a replay would be just, the FAI have renewed hope that a deal can be struck.
The Irish are hoping a plea from both associations, plus both team captains, will help sway Fifa's stance over the prospect of replaying the second leg at in Paris.
A statement from the Board of Management of the FAI read: "Following this afternoon's meeting of its Board of Management, the Football Association of Ireland has called on the French Football Federation, as one of the world's largest Football Associations, to join with it and the captains of both the French and Irish teams, Thierry Henry and Robbie Keane, to request a replay from FIFA that would protect the integrity of the game worldwide and the pride of the French national team."
The FFF, embarrassed by the manner in which their nation have qualified for South Africa, have insisted they will comply with any decision Fifa make on the matter.