FOOTBALL : Sepp Blatter has called a crisis meeting of FIFA chiefs following the Republic of Ireland’s controversial World Cup exit at the hands of France – but the world governing body are not considering a U-turn over their decision to refuse a replay.
Sepp Blatter has called a crisis meeting of FIFA chiefs following the Republic of Ireland’s controversial World Cup exit at the hands of France – but the world governing body are not considering a U-turn over their decision to refuse a replay.
Blatter has called an extraordinary meeting of FIFA’s executive committee to deal with the fall-out of the match in Paris where Thierry Henry’s obvious handball led to the goal that caused Ireland’s defeat in the play-off. The meeting will also deal with the violence sparked by Egypt and Algeria’s World Cup play-off and the hundreds of arrests across Europe by officers investigating corruption in football.
It is understood that a replay of the Ireland v France match is not on the cards, with a senior FIFA source telling Press Association Sport: “A replay is impossible – it would be against the rules of football.”
But one possible outcome of the meeting could be a proposal to fast-track UEFA’s current experiment in the Europa League of having an extra assistant referee behind each goal-line in time for next summer’s World Cup finals.
The system is being championed by UEFA president Michel Platini and though it would have to go to the International Football Association Board (IFAB) meeting in March for a vote, any proposal would almost certainly be passed.
Scottish chief executive Gordon Smith, who sits on IFAB along with the three other home nations and FIFA, said: “I’ve no doubt that Michel Platini will use this incident to push the system and they may now decide to put it to IFAB that they want to have it at the World Cup.
“I feel that it has its advantages at the highest levels of the games. When there’s massive TV coverage the problems are highlighted all over the world so this is something we may have to look at.”
Blatter is also likely to condemn Henry’s action but to stop short of pushing for a suspension for Barcelona’s French striker.
The FAI have said they are happy to contribute to the meeting in any way.
The FIFA president will also address the issue of seeding, both for the play-offs – which were criticised by the Republic – and the finals.