Saturday, November 21, 2009

FAI admit 'defeat' over calls for France replay

Ireland have been forced to admit defeat in their efforts to be granted a replay of their World Cup play-off clash with France.

Having seen FIFA reject their appeals to have the second leg of the tie replayed because of Thierry Henry's handball in the run-up to William Gallas' decisive goal, the Football Association of Ireland, backed by both French skipper Henry and Ireland captain Robbie Keane, had turned to the French Football Federation.

However, the FFF have ruled out the possibility, and France will now take their place in next summer's finals in South Africa while Ireland will remain at home, the victims of what they believe has been a gross miscarriage of justice.

FAI chief executive John Delaney said today: 'We regret that despite our best efforts for a replay, which would have restored the integrity of the game in front of a world-wide audience, our calls appear to have fallen on deaf ears at the French Football Federation.

'Without doubt, the credibility of fair play has been damaged by this incident in front of a worldwide audience.

'Despite our deep disappointment, we thank our players, the wonderful Irish fans and the Irish public at large for their support, as well as the solidarity of the French people.

'We will continue to call on FIFA to take action to ensure that such damaging examples of cheating are not allowed to recur

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