1 Dec 2009

Ireland want to be 33rd team at World Cup finals

5:44 am on 1 December 2009

Ireland have appealed to world football governing body FIFA to be allowed to compete as a 33rd team in next year's World Cup finals in South Africa.

Although the inclusion of an unprecedented extra team would cause serious logistical problems including extra un-scheduled matches, President Sepp Blatter says the FIFA executive committee will consider Ireland's request at their extra-ordinary meeting this week....

Ireland were eliminated from the competition earlier this month by France after Thierry Henry handled the ball in the build-up to William Gallas's equaliser that gave France a 1-all draw and a 2-1 aggregate playoff win.

Irish sources have privately acknowledged they are not expecting their request to be successful, but have asked FIFA to consider compensating them in some other way in future, perhaps by being seeded in the draw for the 2014 finals.