November 20th, 2009
01:51 PM ET

The Irish are barking up the wrong tree

Believe me when I say that I feel sorry for Ireland and I think it's scandalous they were prevented from qualifying for the 2010 World Cup by a goal which was scored after such a blatant handball. However, FIFA rules state and have always stated that the referee's decisions are final. There was never a chance of a replay.

A dejected Irish player reacts to his team's loss to France.
A dejected Irish player reacts to his team's loss to France.

Before I explain why Ireland's argument is misdirected, I will answer the question you are probably asking in your mind. What about the World Cup Qualifier in 2005 between Bahrain and Uzbekistan? That was replayed!

Yes it was, but for different reasons. The referee at the time made a crucial technical error which concerned the laws of the game. Instead of ordering a penalty to be retaken following encroachment in the area, he gave the opposing team a free kick. Therefore the rules had been compromised. This time they weren't. It was a judgment error on the part of the officiating crew.

So, onto the barking and the wrong tree. Ireland should use this opportunity to call for union between football federations around the world in a call for technology in football. This is a perfect time to have one voice in favor of using video replays. At a time when fans around the world have the chance to see every play from 10 different angles, it seems silly that the only man who doesn't have this benefit is the referee.

To their credit, UEFA have started experimenting with five referees, but even they have already made basic mistakes. At a recent Europa League match between Fulham and Roma, they sent off the wrong player after a foul in the area.

So Ireland, take this one on the chin, and take one for the team. You're not going to get a replay, so re-direct your energy towards uniting football federations to change the way the game is played. Is it fair? No. But focus your attention on a battle for a clearer and brighter future in football.

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Filed under:  Football
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. derek

    This is just like the bad old days of boxing. The spctators would see the challenger win but the judges would just give it to the home boy anyway.

    You know, it's just possible that, as captain of France, Thierry Henry could lift the World Cup for his team and country in South Africa.

    That would be some prize for FIFA.

    November 20, 2009 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  2. jason

    fife have lost all credibility to hold a fair and just tournament, i would like to see fifa come to a close as a organisation of football, they have dictated for far to long in the interst of the bigger teams

    November 20, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  3. Padraig

    The appeal by the FAI was designed to put pressure on the French Football Federation to offer a replay out of a sense of fair play.

    Everybody knew that FIFA could not order a replay because of the laws, however if the French Football Federation offered a replay then it would make things interesting. There is precedent in a Cup game in England when Arsenal offered a replay to Sheffield United as the manager felt his own team had scored a goal which was unethical.

    The fact that the French are hiding behind FIFA regulations just exposes them for the cowards they are.

    November 20, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  4. Fitz

    Fair points Pedro but this will not be Irelands first time to take it on the chin. Twice before we have suffered in play offs by poor decisions by match officials against Belgium and Turkey which make this a very difficult bill to swallow, but we will.

    November 20, 2009 at 3:03 pm | Reply
  5. Andy

    Everybody is getting on Thierry Henry's case and calling the French names. That's just plain ignorant. Henry's job is to play the game, not play and referee the game. He is not the first and he won't be the last player to do it!

    November 20, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Reply
  6. vivek

    the irish it seems have quietly forgotten that they beat georgia in similar circumstances where a wrong decision led to a robbie keane penalty .. why didnt the irish offer a replay then.. its just that they cannot fathom the loss..

    November 20, 2009 at 3:17 pm | Reply
  7. jason

    i think its a shame for france because they have to go through the whole tournament knowing they dont deserve to be there , like a black cloud hanging over them. as a player thats the last thing i would want, so basicaly france can write this world cup off unless they default which is highly unlikely but if they have any honor at all, that would be the correct thing to do or to atleast push those dictators (fifa) into a corner and demand a replay on behalf of there honor

    November 20, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Reply
  8. Jeremy Cooper

    But would the Irish or for that matter any team really like to have video technology. That would have negated the penalty they were awarded in the earlier qualifying game against Georgia which enabled them to equalise and then go on and win the game. Without that would they have even been playing France? I significant silence followed that result from the Irish FA and the Irish fans (i do not recall any calls for the game to be replayed).

    November 20, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  9. Manuel

    Guatemala has suffered many wrong decisions in our more than 100 years of beaing a football country. If it is not against Mexico, is against Trinidad & Tobago, like how it was this past world cup. This happens saddly quite often. Although technology is indeed the logical solution for this, there is also a big chance that football could also be changed later into something like sports in the US: over controlled sports... I don't know if this is the general feeling, but I just love football the way it is...

    November 20, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Reply
  10. The Godfather

    Why not ask the Irish their view about the harsh and decisive penalty in February against Georgia that enabled the Irish to reach as far as they reached in the World Cup qualifiers.

    I’ve seen questions posted all over the place as to if we have lost respect for Thierry Henry. My response if why should I lose any respect for him when football is a win at all cost game? Why do you think defenders at the risk of getting red card and incurring penalty against their team bring down a striker making all the right moves to score a goal?

    I am neither a French man nor a Georgian but the truth is that Thierry Henry played a very important role in securing qualification for France and that is all that matters. Other great players like Maradona and Messi have at one time or the other in their career taken unusual steps to achieve their aim. Come to think of it most if not all of us in our personal lives have at one time or the other done unusual things to achieve our aim. As the saying goes "the end justifies the means". I doubt if any of the people casting stones on Thierry is qualified to cast stone.

    November 20, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  11. austrian

    In the end, the loser is France. French players and French football association are showing the world that they lack the dignity and they disregard fair play. And in the process, they are harming the image of France.

    November 20, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  12. Rob

    I agree – it is nonsense not to have a video referee in a game where even if all decisions are correct it may end in a draw or a win by 1 lousy goal. Nearly all other sports have video refs for important games these days and it is time that FIFA emerged from the cave!

    November 20, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  13. bernie

    The speculations and arguments that come after a football game are what makes this sport even greater!
    If they (FIFA) decides to implement Video Replay, it would take out the basic spirit of football, and the game wouldnt be as fluid.

    Besides, France's controversy or even spains loss against south Korea in 2002 due to bad referee judgements are a big part of the game and its history.

    To this day we still talk about "the hand of god", lets leave the game as it is.

    November 20, 2009 at 3:52 pm | Reply
  14. Victor Abiagom

    I don't agree with you. Football should not be played with the hand! Does FIFA's rule support 'Handball' in Football? Henry controlled the ball with the hand more than once before passing to Gallas to score what I term the 'Cheekiest' goal in world football history! It is easier to talk about the rules because we are not Irish.
    FIFA's reason of making the referee's decision final has been faulted and flawed by the controversies that is being generated by this 'hend of ......' goal in a tense match such as a play-off to qualify for the world cup. What then is FIFA's Fair Play all about? Does such big error by a match officials help the game?

    There is still enough time to decide the France- Ireland match before the draws for the 2010 Mundial in SA. And maybe, this may just make FIFA change the rules and let video evidence be adopted to immediately address contentious issues in football.

    The match should be replayed.

    November 20, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  15. martin croghan

    Pedro, I agree. Match over, result and rewards stand. There is, however, another more relevant point. Before the qualifiers finished in the Europe section of the World Cup, it was not sure if Germany, France, Portugal etc. would qualify first and it was almost certain that countries such as Portugal and France would qualify as runners up only, at best. So, Mr Blatter and co. of Fifa introduced a new rule, and there would be a seeding of the 8 teams so the 4 with the highest positions in the Fifa rankings would play the 4 with the lowest. Rules would be changed when it suited to get the right result. You have to avoid minnow countries who have no financial muscle and the poor man who is running the games in South Africa said around the same time that games without stars such as Ronaldo would be unthinkable. This man used to be a very prominent student activist and then a prominent ANC member in South Africa. But discrimination against little countries such as Ireland is ok to guarantee success. Surely, people with your experience and knowledge, Mr Pinto, would ever be surprised at anything Fifa does. Now the fans everywhere should jeer when Fifa wiggles the giant flag of Fair Play at international games

    November 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  16. Mikael

    So according to your logic, Pedro, if someone steals from me and I know who did it along with everyone else, I should not go to the police and ask them to regain my property, but accept the loss and use my case as an example to stop future thefts. Nonsense. Ireland were cheated, they had every right to appeal. FIFA turned them down, which was their right even if they're wrong. But please don't deny Ireland the opportunity to at least seek justice, as that would be unethical in so many ways.....Think before you write, man, because with this you just sound like a FIFA lackey

    November 20, 2009 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  17. doogle

    French honour demands that the FFF requests a rematch. Henry has been honest in admitting his infraction...he is clearly a man of honour, deserving of his post. Now let's see TOP MANAGEMENT of the FFF show the same standard. Only then will a French victory have any real meaning, against Ireland or in 2010. Otherwise, the French (and I live amongst them, they are NOT impressed either) are being painted with the same dirty brush that the FFF deserves. C'est honteux !!

    November 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Reply
  18. Jennifer

    If you replay one, you must replay all. There have been far too many mistakes by refs that went unchanged.

    November 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Reply
  19. Josh

    "it would take out the basic spirit of football, and the game wouldn't be as fluid."
    Not true for goal situations only. The time it would take a video referee to make a decision is less than half the time it takes for player celebrations. Not trying to clean up and 'watch' every aspect of the game, but just goal situations. And not even offside that is done for the fan now with shaded lines of exact positions etc...but just goals that are scored like this.
    I'm a dual citizen and live in Ireland and of course was pulling for them to win this game, but as we also say in the States "don't hate the player, hate the game"....meaning it;s not any one players fault, its the nature of the game and the rules. That is why a video referee would bring some justice in situations that are not deserved.
    I also don't believe there should be a replay match as that is not fair either.

    November 20, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  20. FATIHI

    Why didn't the goal keeper show honour and ethics and tell the referee that in fact he grabs the feet of Anelka for a clear penalty???i didn't see any irish players express what they ask for???????????????
    Irish players didn't play any foot ball at their home,they 'd better be honest with themself.In any match,players arte pretending to fall,scoring goals even if they are offside,cheating to gain or waste time for the others...ETHICS...HONOUR...REDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 20, 2009 at 5:03 pm | Reply
  21. Oti

    I don't get it folks! Did you expect Henry to own up? That's the work of tthe match officials – they are paid to do just that. Mind you it's not as if the Irish were on the verge of qualifying- it was 1-1 aggregate score and any thing could have happened in the remaining 17 minutes. In any case a penalty shoot out could have gone either way.

    Henry is a legend. Don't forget Messi also once scored with the help of his hand. So did CR7 dubious 'penalties' broke hearts.

    I notice English speaking countries talk too much!

    November 20, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Reply
  22. Dorji

    Henry is now busy trying to fix his image after scooped the outgoing ball into his side to pass to score. I am lossing my faith with FIFA for the way they handle things. How about those refrees ban for life from ever from future officiating again? That would be a partial justice and send the strong signal not to bribe the game.

    November 20, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  23. Roscoe

    Blatter & Platini changed the rules before the Play offs to protect the big boys. Then conveniently an off side and two Hand balls are missed in the dying minutes which effectively eliminate the better team by deceit. I have no respect for Blatter, Platini and their cohorts in FIFA. FIFA is a cosy club with a monopoly where they look after their mates. I am so pleased that my two sons gave up Football after 6 years playing to switch to the fairer sport of Rugby.

    November 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  24. Edvin

    The obvious mistake by the referee and his assistants: Watch the transmission and the instant replay: The assistant on the far line can't possibly have missed it! Why his passivity?
    Video replay has already been introduced (after the match) in connection with acts of violence on the pitch – perhaps inspired partly by Keane (who minutes ago had his own act on CNN) breaking people's legs. What happened to Zidane after the World Cup final against Italy?
    As a consequence, players get suspended for playing dirty. So why not use technology in this case?
    And: Why not suspend Henry for 3 first matches in South Africa (if France is allowed to go there)? He has stolen the game and discredited football.
    And he celebrated his ungodly double(!) handball.

    November 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  25. John

    I think this raises a question not over whether there should be a "replay", but whether or not FIFA should implement an "instant replay" system into the game. I know there are a LOT of people who are against this, but in the interest of fairness, instant replay can be quite useful. Perhaps limiting coaches to 1 instant replay per game would be a fair way to prevent this from happening in the future.

    November 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  26. Sean

    I attend most Ireland matches but couldnt get to Paris on Wednesday evening. It was a great match which I thoroughly enjoyed – except obviously for the result. Personally I thought the referee and his assistants had a very good game and got almost all of the big decisions spot on.
    Thierry Henry is a first class player and from what I can see appears to be a very decent human being into the bargain. I don't think cheating was in his mind when the ball came to him it was just an instinctive reaction.
    Personally I dont really want cameras for as long as the referees are honest then over time things should even themselves out.
    What concerns me more is FIFA when they decide to change the qualification rules at the last minute when it looks like one of the big countries wont qualify, now that really concerns me.
    Best of luck to France in the finals.

    November 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  27. Americano

    Video replay is a fact of life in American rules football, and it works great. No question but that it should be mandatory for international football (aka soccer), as well.

    November 20, 2009 at 5:23 pm | Reply
  28. paul shields

    when i was younger ,i was learned that cheats never win, but they do win.....

    November 20, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Reply
  29. Irene

    Over 258,000 people have now signed the Facebook fan page to get the match replayed in the space of 48hrs. Surely that can put presure on FIFA to call for replay. The seeding was the start of this fiasco why not let it end with a replay and if they lose they lose but the right team must go to SA.

    November 20, 2009 at 6:09 pm | Reply
  30. Fergus

    FIFA must look at seriously what the Americans do with video referees on American football games. It is a clean and fair way to add a dozen more referees to the field, and see all players from all angles.

    November 20, 2009 at 6:49 pm | Reply
  31. Tp

    well life has to go on Ireland, you were a good team on an unfortunate day, To france-you have to pull up your socks otherwise you wont get the same luck next time.

    November 20, 2009 at 6:52 pm | Reply
  32. Gurufootball

    Wow I’m surprised at several things. This is just sport not politics. Yes Ireland was the victim but they will have another chance in 2 years for the European Cup and the world cup in 4. No one died.
    1. The number of comments is unbelievable. You would think this is more relevant than invading Iraq and the killing of thousands on all sides based on lies.
    2. It’s a fact that FIFA & UEFA desire the big teams to win for marketing reasons. Without it the sport will suffer. I remember when the Olympics were for amateur athletes only why did it change? Let’s be realistic.
    3. This is a sport created by man, governed by man, and ruled by man. We all know man is not perfect, therefore once in a while something like this is bound to happen. I mean I’m Portuguese and I have seen Portugal eliminated from international tournaments by France on penalty shots 3 times in the last 10 years. Referees choose to see or not see what is convenient for the sport.
    4. It’s a fact that smaller countries have to win but win conclusively. But the fun is in this, watching a country like Portugal with 10M people being a contender.
    Goooooooooooooooo Portugal and bring on France in South Africa.

    November 20, 2009 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  33. RonQ

    FIFA motto is FAIR PLAY. They sure don't back that up with action especially when the wrong is right in front of their eyes.

    So, to learn from this experience it comes down to this: its ok to cheat as many times you can during a game because your chances of getting it away with it are good.

    November 20, 2009 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  34. james

    an awful article.why should we take it on the chin.WE HAVE BEEN ROBBED AND CHEATED BY THE FRENCH AND MORE TO THE POINT HENRY.If it was portugal you would feel robbed and cheated.big countries get the big decisions.I for one will be boycotting the world cup.SHAME ON FIFA,SHAME ON BLATTER AND SHAME ON PLATINI.FIFA say fair play but i certainly don't see how this is fair

    November 20, 2009 at 7:17 pm | Reply
  35. Ajibola

    Rules are made by men and not men by rules. Each time incidences like this happens, FIFA stand by the referee and penalize the team, the manager or the player. So long as Referees are human, errors will always occur because they are not infallible. It takes a high sense of FAIR PLAY to interpret the rules in such a way that the fair play is promoted. Being dogmatic will not serve the interest of the game in the long run.

    November 20, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Reply
  36. Laurent

    I just would like to tell you that France, and many French people are ready for a replay.
    Now let me ask a question to all those people who seams to be so outraged, are you so sure your country or city foot ball team have been winning without any mistakes, and were you then ready to replay the match?!
    So let´s stop hypocrisy please, and let the match be replayed.

    November 20, 2009 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  37. diane

    This article is stupid. Of course a rule of law was violated. You CANNOT touch the ball with your hand period. Everyone saw the handball except the referee? Give me a break!

    November 20, 2009 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  38. Michael Morgan

    I sincerely feel sorry for the Irish. BUT this is what makes football or soccer the best game in the world. Its just like our lives. In life if we dont make our own mistake some one else can make the mistake for us and we can suffer the consequence.

    And just like in life, there may have been many opportunities and yet we miss scoring that goal. Just like in life we are suppose to get that promotion, BUT the Vice presidents son gets it instead. We try to make this world perfect for us, but it ends up unperfect for others.

    This is what makes soccer great. Its not only the players, supporters, officials. Its how everything generates the atmosphere. And as humens make mistakes in life, the game itself brings life to the arena.

    Leave the game to humens and not in the hands of technology or robots. In fact Ireland made a mistake in loosing the game at home, if they had won the game, the away game would be a different life story.

    My advice to the football governing body is to leave the game as it is. Any more fine tuning in the laws or by instilling technology will kill the life of the game.

    Football is about people because football is just like peoples life.

    November 20, 2009 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  39. Rob

    Football is the loser here. I totally agree to have full technology in football but even that is not conclusive. It would however have clearly shown that the ball was handled. I don't think there was ever a chance of this match being replayed, so FIFA needs to look at itself and determine if they want to move the game into the technological age. Having a single person decides such crucial games is not fair to that person and only he understands the challenge it is. I also feel sorry for Henry because as much as the referee is the sole arbiter of the game, he know has to live with this disgrace over his head. Much like Maradona and Zidane.

    November 20, 2009 at 8:00 pm | Reply
  40. Feena, Toulouse

    The world outrage to this unfair win by the French is so compelling, and therefore warrants a replay even at the request of Thierry Henry. FIFA needs to respect the rules it makes!

    November 20, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Reply
  41. Arvin Homer

    Mr. Pedro Pinto:

    You are an imbecile as usual for even writing this article. The foray of wrong calls by refs and fixed matches will plague the world of soccer till its doomsday.

    November 20, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  42. Oyinke Suowari

    If 'FIFA' looks in the mirror, what should be seen is an 'Ostrich hiding its Head in the Sand'. Shameful! It is quite hypocritical to preach Fair Play and moralise Against Discrimination when they mastermind discrimination against non-preferred Clubs and Countries (an alternative form of 'racial' discrimination) by blatant refusal to use commonplace technology for limited number of challenges/reviews to check blunders in referees' judgements (final in FIFA statutes), especially for critical game-changing decisions. FIFA may still refuse to check time that would have been saved by reviews versus duration of fights (in and out of the pitch) and even diplomatic rows.

    Oyinke Suowari
    Warri, Nigeria

    NB: I am considering striking out football (soccer) from my viewing list, if FIFA continues to manage the beautiful game with such false pretences.

    November 20, 2009 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  43. Beema

    Can they take FIFA to court to reverse it's decision?

    November 20, 2009 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  44. Bruno

    to Padraig , im french and im not happy how the team i support qualified, when i clearly understand the frustration i do not like to be called a coward nor my fellow french nationals for the action of only one man. Anyway Video ref needs to be introduced in football like fo rugby for international games so this cannot happen again!
    ps : Ireland federation voted against video referee a while back, that will make them think again
    kind regards

    November 20, 2009 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  45. Brian

    To all the people who keep saying Ireland got a penalty against Georgia that should not have been a penalty, yes it wasnt a penalty, but we didnt cheat to get it.....

    November 20, 2009 at 10:15 pm | Reply
  46. Adam

    I believe Henry is lying when he said instinct made him do it. As a footballer instinct should tell you not to handle the ball, right? So sad the Irish are out because of FIFA's continued stubbornness in refusing to use technology. The harsh reality is no Ireland in South Africa 2010 and more injustice yet to come. Is this FIFA's plan?

    November 20, 2009 at 10:30 pm | Reply
  47. Jay

    Whatever the French do from this point on is dirty and beyond repair. They have just disqualified themselves from the World Cup regardless of what occurs in the matches. The Irish loss in all of this is significant but pale in comparison to what the French lose, which is whatever reputation they had left. Disgraceful!

    November 20, 2009 at 11:12 pm | Reply
  48. Arturo

    Look, im sorry, but this is not the first game that had been decided by bad calls. Ireland has benefited from them in the past, same as every other team. France has lost to bad calls and they haven't insisted the game be replayed. Ireland has won (against Georgia for example) because of bad calls and no one asked them to replay. Please think twice before you talk about how dishonored France should be, and remember the fact that EVERY TEAM has benefited and suffered because of bad calls.

    November 20, 2009 at 11:16 pm | Reply
  49. Nicholas

    Who ever wrote the peice above, is devoid of any understanding of logic. The player used his hand to put the ball back in play. The rules say you are not allowed to do this, you are not allowed to handle the ball, just like you are not allowed to give somebody a kick in there fruit and two veg, and if you did so and were seen on TV you would get a sanction and possible ban. France should be banned from playing in the World cup

    November 20, 2009 at 11:53 pm | Reply
  50. leif parly

    Discussions like this, are as old as the sport itself. Simply a part of the game and its history. Who would remenber the World Cup in England 1966 if their goal against West-Germany rigtfully had been disallowed? Who would remember Maradonnas goal against England, if he had not scored with "Gods hand"?

    Each weekend thousends of kids play this wonderfull game, all around the world, and they all learn a usefull lesson. There is nothing just in the world of man, and when the reffery has spoken, the discussion is over!

    November 20, 2009 at 11:55 pm | Reply
  51. John B

    For all of you who make reference to the Ireland/Georgia was the referee who made the decision to award that penalty.
    If it should not have been awarded, then the referee is 100% wrong for awarding the penalty.
    In the Ireland/France game the last night, the referee was 100% right not to award a penalty to Mr Anelka. Well done ref on that one!
    However, in the Ireland/France game, the referee did nothing with regard to the double handball, and in fact explained his decision to one of the Irish players on the field by way of indicating via body language that the ball had hit a part of his body other than his hand. Watch the replay!! What was my conclusion?
    (1) the referee deliberately ignored the truth.
    (2) Mr Henry deliberately handled the ball twice in one action, bizzare!
    Two wrongs never make a right!
    As someone who has played soccer for more than 30 years and still play, I can swear to have never seen a handball incident like conclusion "deliberate handball and blatant cheating by more than one party, not to mention the offside in the incident." And you know FIFA expected us to go home from France like as if nothing had happened.
    FIFA got their wish for France at South Africa 2010.
    Any you know what, they probably breathed a sigh of relief that it didnt go to penalties either as we have one of the top, if not best goalkeeper in the world!
    "Fair play my foot." I sensed that night, that with Ireland playing so well, the only way we would be beaten was by either a bad refeering decision or a bizzare know, both of these 2 combined.
    Its just not good enough to say NO to us. My blood simmers!
    If there is no precedent to reverse this injustice, then make this incident the precedent and nulify the result of the match!
    Smells of CONSPIRACY

    November 21, 2009 at 12:25 am | Reply
  52. Fernando

    I think Pedro Pinto would have felt differently if this had happen to Portugal....right? Cheating French.. all of the Irish players should have walked out of that field. Either way, France wont make it far in the me, Ireland would have been a better team there anyway. SHAMEEEEEE!!!

    November 21, 2009 at 12:57 am | Reply
  53. J. Borton

    It is a shame that in the end the cheats will win. FIFA says there is no precident for a rematch. Well, isn't it time for a precident? If FIFA refuses to enter the 21st century with instant replays then least they could do is right a blatant wrong. All this makes a mockery of all those signs stating "Fair Play" and "Respect".

    November 21, 2009 at 6:35 am | Reply
  54. Roshan Fernando

    " so re-direct your energy towards uniting football federations to change the way the game is played". Yeah right – and Ireland should just forget that they just lost an opportunity to play at the most important team sport event of them all and unfairly too. Sorry, Pedro – you are wrong this time.
    Surely after what happened with Maradona's shameful "Hand of God" incident this latest injustice should have been addressed better.
    And as someone has commented here, should France win the world cup what a joke it would be. More importantly in this instance the team that played better lost due to an unbelievable series of errors.

    November 21, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  55. Nor Azman

    Irish fans are angry. French fans are embarrassed. And fans of football in general are disgusted. The real loser in all of this is the integrity of football. FIFA really dropped or 'handball' the ball in this one. For all their slogan of fairplay. FIFA had a real chance to back up their words. Really disgusted. FIFA has shamed itself in front of the world.

    The introduction of video technology is a hopeful solution to avoid a mess like this in the future but dont know if it will ever happen and the damage is already done.

    Maybe we fans of honest football, really do have to take this, get back up, and keep on running, chasing the ball – the love of football.

    November 21, 2009 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  56. mike

    A hand ball is a hand ball. The biggest, easiest rule in the game of football to see. I find it hard to believe that all 3 refs not only missed the offsides on the play but Henry handling the ball TWICE. I have played the game for over 30 years and I cannot remember a ref missing one BLATENT hand ball against me, seems like other agendas are being met. I feel sorry for Henry and their 2010 World Cup bid, they will be the joke of the tournament. If I were him I would boycott the Cup

    November 21, 2009 at 9:52 pm | Reply
  57. damudread

    WHY IS THERE SUCH A BIG outrage about Ireland? How many teams have been knocked out before and even at the world cup itself. This nonsense has been going on for decades where referees influence results at fifas request. Chile were dubiously helped vs Cameroon(98 wc), England were dubiously helped vs Cameroon (S Korea were dubiously helped vs Spain) 2002 wc, brazil were dubiously helped vs Ghana(wc??? 2006),Morocco and Algeria were also knocked out by officials which subsequently helped Norway and West Germany in separate world cups. In this years fifa u 20 world cup final in Egypt, a Belgian ref clearly favored Brazil vs Ghana by dubiously sending a Ghanaian defender off. The same ref helped Spain beat Nigeria in the same tournament by sending 2 of their players off as well as gifting Spain an absolutely ridiculous penalty. This is shameful France should keep their place so that people will keep complaining till fifa fairly introduce video technologies to benefit everybody not just the Big teams (especially European teams).

    November 22, 2009 at 7:40 am | Reply
  58. Margamoo

    Pedro. If you want Ireland to get Football Federations together to make a rule change, what you are talking about is the IFAB.

    The IFAB is the International Football Association Board – they decide rule changes for the game internationally. The board is made up of The FA (English Football Association), Scottish FA, Wales FA, The Irish FA (Northern Ireland) and FIFA. These are the original Football Associations who invented the game and the rules, starting with the English FA (known as the FA) in 1863. FIFA joined the IFAB in 1904. Each FA has one vote and FIFA has 4 votes – the majority votes decides a rule change. FIFA has to abide by and adhere to any rules set down by the IFAB.

    The board meets every year to decide on rule changes and if we want FIFA to use technology, even after the game, to spot infractions not called by the referee then this is the place to make those changes.

    For all you football fans who are angry at FIFA, if you want to make a change we should ALL email the IFAB and complain.

    November 22, 2009 at 10:34 am | Reply
  59. Laurent

    And if on the contrary an Irish player would have touch the ball with the hand, do you really think the Irish people would have asked to replay the game?...Frankly speaking I dont think so.

    November 22, 2009 at 10:45 am | Reply
  60. yinka ayeni

    any nation that has not benefited from a referee's error of judgement before should cast the first stone, We have all at one time or the order benefited. And also we've been at the receiving end before,
    Pls let's go to SA and enjoy our world cup 2010. enough of all these theatrics.

    November 22, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  61. jaq

    And that's not the same thing, how? Both referees made judgement errors. One gave a free kick and the other neglected to WATCH THE BALL! In american football, each team gets a certain number of chances to dispute a call by the ref that can be checked via video replay. Why is that so difficult to implement in soccer? It seems way more people are into the sport, don't really understand why FIFA enjoys annoying fans. Rules can be changed, right?! And if both sides are willing to redo it, why not just do it?

    November 22, 2009 at 8:01 pm | Reply
  62. Spartakus

    Well..Henry was the Captain at that moment and what would you do when you are about to eliminate ..he was a patriot and a leader by example ..he was a player who wanted to take France to the World cup and refereeing was not part of his job..Well done Henry !!!

    November 22, 2009 at 10:39 pm | Reply
  63. Thomas

    Ireland delivered a superb effort and had some very bad luck on that call. But, it's really unfair to blame the French for an oversight by the officials – and for the lack of "video replay". Unlike Maradona, Thierry Henry did speak the truth as soon as the game was over. He says the hand ball was not deliberate – therefore it can hardly be called "cheating by the French".

    Also, if Thierry Henry can be blamed for not immediately "correcting" the official to dis-allow the goal, then couldn't we also blame Marco Materazzi for not quickly telling the official that he had deliberately provoked the head-butt from Zidane, by calling his sister a whore, etc? This could have been corrected by a withdrawl of the red card, and then by allowing Zidane to finish the final game of a legendary career.

    November 23, 2009 at 7:21 am | Reply
  64. Rob

    I would like to know exactly what the difference is between what Thierry henry did and someone who is accused of match fixing. Both imply a deliberate attempt to influence the result of a match by underhanded means – cheating. Thierry Henry is lying if he says tha hand ball was not deliberate. You can clearly see that he handled the ball twice, once to get it under control and then to direct it towards his foot. Therefore, it should be quite simple. FIFA can disqualify France for match fixing, deliberately influencing the outcome of the game by means of cheating. the Irish get to qualify and no player or team will ever do that again as the cost of getting caught is too high. Of course one should not expect FIFA to make an example of the French Team, given FIFA's location as well as the fact that many of the top people are French.

    November 23, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Reply
  65. Gurufootball

    Hey James / Fernando it has happened to Portugal.
    Portugal reached the semi-finals where they were beaten by hosts England 2–1; in this game, Portugal would have played in Liverpool, but as England were the hosts, FIFA decided that the game should have been in London, which led the Portuguese team travel unexpectedly from Liverpool to London.
    During the campaign for Euro 1984, Portugal played against the hosts, France, and eventual champions, in one of the most exciting matches in European Championship history. France scored first, but Portugal equalized almost an hour later. The game was tied after 90 minutes and went into extra time. Portugal made the score 2–1 in the first 15 minutes, with both teams having numerous quality scoring chances. In the second half of extra time, France scored in the 114th and 119th minutes to eliminate Portugal 3–2 and go through to the final.
    The team almost qualified for the tournament that was to be hosted by France. However, during a qualifier in Germany, Rui Costa was controversially sent off for taking too long to walk off the field while Portugal was leading 1–0. Germany drew the crucial game and was thus able to qualify. This incident is regarded as one of the darkest in Portugal's football history, with FIFA being accused of favoritism in support of Germany, who was the defending Euro '96 champions.
    In the qualifications for the 2000 Euro, in the semi-final meeting with World Cup holders France, Portugal scored first and nearly scored again due to an Abel Xavier's header after France equalized. Portugal was eliminated in extra time by a golden goal when Zinedine Zidane converted a penalty. Austrian referee Gunter Benko awarded the spot kick for a handball after Abel Xavier blocked a shot from Sylvain Wiltord (Benko initially gave France a corner but changed his mind after consulting with Slovak linesman Igor Sramka).
    Portugal lost 1–0 against France in the semi-finals on 5 July at Munich. Two players had been forced to sit out due to accumulated bookings from the round of 16 and quarter-finals. It did not help that the team faced a hostile crowd of English and French fans; they relentlessly booed Ronaldo for his perceived unsportsmanlike behavior in the previous round. As in the semi-finals of Euro 2000, Portugal were narrowly defeated by France, with the decisive goal being a penalty scored by Zinedine Zidane after Thierry Henry was awarded a penalty from a foul committed by Ricardo Carvalho.

    Referees choose to see or not see what is convenient for the sport, it’s a fact that smaller countries have to win but win conclusively.

    November 23, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  66. Gurufootball

    As far as I’m concerned what goes around comes around. If France is the joke of SA 2010 they have it coming. I believe they have been favored especially since Platini became president of UEFA, I say this in spite of believing that they have had several great players like Zidane & Henry and Platini himself.

    November 23, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Reply
  67. Rafito

    Come on football we know the ball was heading out of play, so henry had a throw in to himself and passed the ball to Gallas, end of story.
    Or am I the only person that can take this lighthearted. It is a game, let us not lose sight of that.

    November 24, 2009 at 9:40 am | Reply
  68. sangpo

    I think players, coach and fans everybody knows that ref decision is final decision in football game. so, why there is a fusssss?

    November 24, 2009 at 11:23 pm | Reply
  69. sangpo

    No rules No game, No respect No game...........

    November 24, 2009 at 11:27 pm | Reply
  70. Colin

    Apparently, in some quarters the view is that as it was not pre-meditated cheating, it was not cheating.

    Henry knew that all he would receive would be a yellow card so why not take a chance and palm it?

    Did the French team even have it well practiced as a last minute attempt at a goal in desparate times?

    Eric Cantona was banned for 9 months, fined, stripped of the captaincy of the French national team and lost his place in that team.

    Pele, Platini, Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Henry ? The greats of football.

    November 25, 2009 at 4:08 am | Reply

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