FOOTBALL : Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney has urged FIFA to uphold their own principles and “step up to the plate” by agreeing to replay last night’s controversial World Cup play-off defeat by France.
Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney has urged FIFA to uphold their own principles and “step up to the plate” by agreeing to replay last night’s controversial World Cup play-off defeat by France.
The FAI lodged a formal complaint with the world governing body, claiming the integrity of the game has been damaged after French forward Thierry Henry blatantly handled the ball during extra-time in the lead-up to the winning goal scored by William Gallas.
“I really believe the integrity of the game has been questioned last night,” Delaney said. “The governing body of world football have to step up to the plate and accede to our call for a replay.”
Delaney also confirmed the FAI have written to their French counterparts. “We have got to do what we have to 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?”
The FAI believe there is a precedent for the result to be struck out.
FIFA ordered Uzbekistan to replay Bahrain in a play-off for the 2006 World Cup in Germany after the referee made a mistake after a penalty had been awarded. The governing body described it as a “technical error”.
However, in that instance, the referee was guilty of wrongly applying the rules rather than missing an offence. An indirect free-kick was awarded 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.