FOOTBALL : The Football Association of Ireland have hit out at FIFA president Sepp Blatter for making public details of private discussions over the nation’s bid for World Cup justice.
The Football Association of Ireland have hit out at FIFA president Sepp Blatter for making public details of private discussions over the nation’s bid for World Cup justice.
FAI chiefs have revealed they had asked on Tuesday that their request for the Republic of Ireland to be included as the 33rd team at next summer’s finals not be raised at Wednesday’s meeting of the governing body’s executive committee in Cape Town.
A statement said: “The Football Association of Ireland acknowledges that the suggestion of an additional place at the World Cup is not a possibility and has requested yesterday (Tuesday) that it will not be raised at today’s (Wednesday) FIFA executive committee meeting.”
It continued: “The FAI has already clarified that this matter was peripheral, was not raised in any of its formal written submissions to FIFA, and was explored only fleetingly as part of a wide-ranging 90-minute discussion with that body.
“Regrettably, the matter appears to have been singled out in public by Mr Blatter despite his assurances that the meeting would remain private.”
Ireland were denied a place at the finals in South Africa when Swedish referee Martin Hansson failed to spot France skipper Thierry Henry handling the ball in the run-up to William Gallas’ decisive goal in the play-off second leg clash between the two sides at the Stade de France on November 18.
The FAI asked for the game to be replayed amid a public outcry, but both FIFA and the French Football Federation declined.
Having finally admitted defeat, the FAI, who were already angry at the late decision to seed the play-offs which handed the Republic a tougher draw than they might have had, have instead submitted a series of proposals to the executive committee in an effort to prevent a repeat.
The statement continued: “Instead of diverting attention, we would prefer that Mr Blatter uses this opportunity to deal with the issues which have been raised formally for the benefit of football worldwide.
“1. Ensure that FIFA’s rules cannot be changed mid-way through a tournament, for whatever reason, commercial or otherwise. 2. Introduce video technology for matches at the highest level which has been resisted for too long and which would have avoided the error that led, in part, to the meeting. 3. Implement additional goal line assistant referees for all FIFA international matches. 4. In future, introduce stronger sanctions for players involved in match defining breaches of the Laws of the Game. 5. Issue a clear statement that FIFA does not condone breaches of the Laws of the Game. For a man in Mr Blatter’s position to empathise with someone who scored a goal by cheating is inappropriate.”