21 Nov 2009

FIFA turns down Irish request to replay match

2:30 pm on 21 November 2009

Football's world ruling body FIFA has officially turned down a request from Ireland's Football Association to stage a replay of their controversial World Cup playoff defeat to France.

France qualified for the 2010 World Cup by winning the two-leg tie 2-1 on aggregate on Wednesday, although there has been outrage and claims of cheating after a blatant Thierry Henry handball led to France's decisive equaliser.

France captain Henry says "the fairest solution" to the row surrounding his handball against Ireland would be to replay the match, but it is not in his control, AFP reports.

Henry says he feels embarrassed and extremely sorry for the Irish, who he believes deserve to play at the tournament in South Africa.

The French Football Federation is making "no further comment" other than noting the decision, while their Irish counterpart is due to meet on Saturday to consider the decision.