20/11/2009

FIFA Rules Out Irish Rematch

Despite efforts by Taoiseach Brian Cowen, the world's football representative body has announced there will be no replay between Ireland and France.

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) had lodged a formal complaint with the world governing body, FIFA, who have today said the result of the World Cup qualifier cannot be changed and the match cannot be replayed.

Calls for the replay emerged after French striker Thierry Henry admitted he had handled the ball in the lead up to a last minute goal that put Ireland out of the World Cup.

Yesterday the Taoiseach joined the Football Association of Ireland in calling for a replay after the controversial World Cup play-off defeat.

Arriving at a summit meeting of EU leaders in Brussels, Brian Cowen said he agreed with calls for a replay saying: "Fair play is a fundamental part of the game".

Mr Cowen said he would be discussing the matter with French President Nicholas Sarkozy on the margins of the summit although he did not want to "raise it to high diplomatic status".
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The French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has however dismissed the calls by saying the Irish government "should not interfere" in footballing decisions.

Yesterday, FIFA said any chance of a replay is out of the question. A FIFA spokesperson cited Law 5 in the official rules of the game stating that the referee has "full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which he has been appointed," and that "the decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play are final".

Today, in response to the official grievance filed by the Football Association of Ireland, FIFA said: "FIFA has today 20 November 2009 replied to the request made by the FAI to replay the 2010 FIFA World Cup play-off match held on 18 November 2009 between France and the Republic of Ireland in Paris."

The reply stated that the result of the match cannot be changed and the match cannot be replayed. "As is clearly mentioned in the Laws of the Game, during matches, decisions are taken by the referee and these decisions are final."

(DW/KMcA)

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