FIFA and the FAI are still not seeing eye to eye
The ongoing war of words between the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and the world governing soccer body, FIFA or more appropriately their figurehead Sepp Blatter continued today.
In a statement that is more than a veiled criticism of Blatter they say that the way that the FIFA President raised the issue was inappropriate, as was his support for Thierry Henry, after cheating a goal that ensured Ireland would not be going to the 2010 World Cup in soccer in South Africa.
In a statement just issued they state:
“The Football Association of Ireland acknowledges that the suggestion of an additional place at the World Cup is not a possibility and has requested yesterday that it will not be raised at today’s FIFA Executive Committee meeting.
“The FAI has already clarified that this matter was peripheral, was not raised in any of its formal written submissions to FIFA, and was explored only fleetingly as part of a wide-ranging 90 minute discussion with that body. Regrettably the matter appears to have been singled out in public by Mr Blatter despite his assurances that the meeting would remain private.
“Instead of diverting attention, we would prefer that Mr Blatter uses this opportunity to deal with the issues which have been raised formally for the benefit of football worldwide.
1) Ensure that FIFA’s rules cannot be changed mid-way through a tournament, for whatever reason, commercial or otherwise.
2) Introduce video technology for matches at the highest level which has been resisted for too long and which would have avoided the error that led, in part, to today’s meeting.
3) Implement additional goal line assistant referees for all FIFA international matches.
4) In future, introduce stronger sanctions for players involved in match defining breaches of the Laws of the Game.
5) Issue a clear statement that FIFA does not condone breaches of the Laws of the Game. For a man in Mr Blatter’s position to empathise with someone who scored a goal by cheating is inappropriate.
The FAI raised these matters only so that the likelihood of such incidents recurring be reduced and now leaves their consideration in the hands of football’s world governing body.
More fair play from FIFA
The Irish Football Association (FAI) found out about an extraordinary meeting of FIFA, the world governing soccer body about problems with the World Cup qualifiers through a press release on the FIFA website.
This evening they said:
In relation to this evening’s announcement that FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, has called an extraordinary meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee to discuss incidents at the play offs, the FAI confirmed that it heard about this meeting today through FIFA’s press release. Should we be asked to make any contribution, the FAI would be happy to do so for the improvement of the game.”
While the Irish have now conceded that the controversial game against France will not be replayed, the revelation that it appeared to be the French manager Domenech, that stood between Ireland and the replay, if true, shows just how shallow he is.
Niall Blaney TD has called for a replay
Blaney calls on the FAI to demand a replay Following last night’s World Cup Qualifier in which Ireland lost out to France after a handball incident, Local Fianna Fáil TD Niall Blaney has called on the FAI to demand a replay. Deputy Blaney added that the video referee/replay facility must also be introduced to soccer matches following the incident.
“Last night’s result was devastating for Shay Given and the Irish team, not to mention for the whole country.” “To lose is one thing, but to lose under such unjust circumstances is quite another.”
“FIFA’s silence following Thierry Henry’s handling of the ball last night can only be seen as bias towards larger countries with greater revenue potential.”
“The FIFA’s Fair Play campaign should be suspended immediately if no action is taken on this matter. If they want to retain any credibility, they must act on this.”
“The reputation of football as a fair game is at stake here. Not only did Henry handle the ball twice, and admitted publicly as such, but two French players were also offside.”
“This also proves beyond doubt the absolute need for the video referee facility to be introduced in soccer games. Most of the team saw that it was a handball and, while it is devastating that neither the linesmen nor the referee saw it, a video referee would have sorted the issue in minutes.”
“Maybe then it might be Shay Given and the team heading off to South Africa and not handball Henry.” “The FAI must act on this and demand a replay,” Deputy Blaney concluded.
Ireland's brave performance was scuppered by a cheated French goal
Ireland came within a whisker of causing one of the great upsets in World soccer when a equaliser goal from William Gallas from a clear double hand ball from Theiry Henri, saw France win through to the World Cup finals in South Africa in 2010.
Ireland had taken the lead in the 33rd minute from Robbie Keane, after an inch perfect pass from Damien Duff.
For the rest of the 90 minutes France failed to get on the scoreboard leaving a 1-1 aggregrate score on 90 minutes.
In what will become one of the most controversial incidents in modern soccer, Former Arsenal striker Henri, showed that cheating in the game can still win you a place in the World Cup finals.
With no video referee in the gane of soccer, the truly farcical situation of France getting the equaliser, in such a blatant unethical and unsportmanlike way, was in to total contrast to one of the greatest Irish displays of the modern era.
It was a shame to watch the Ireland brought to their knees in such a fashion, but it was a proud day for the Irish nation, who were denegrated by the French press in advance of the game.
Irish fans, Irish players, the Irish nation were robbed by FIFA’s childish attitude to a real sense of fair play in world soccer, while they are harping on about fair play on the field.
The rub of the green went France way on both occasions and as one commentator said this evening, it often is a case of the ‘big’ decision of the ‘big’ team.
Ireland's brave performance was scuppered by a late French goal last night in Croke Park
It was a brave performance in the end, but the luck of the Irish ran out in the 71st last night in Croke Park when a deflected shot from Anelka saw France defeat Ireland in the first leg of the World Cup qualifiers last night.
The Republic of Ireland now face an uphill battle as they head off to Paris for the return leg next Wednesday, but hope springs eternal.
Ireland dominated much of the excahnges in the first half, but as the second half continued, they seemed to run out of ideas and a bit of steam. It was a much better effort than their game against Italy last month, but it was not to be on this occasion.
Whatever about a miracle in Knock, we will probably need one, as well as a good injection of luck, come Wednesday night.
Republic of Ireland manager, Giovanni Trapattoni, today (October 30) announced a 25 man squad for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup qualifying play off against France in Croke Park on November 14 (kick off 20.00 hrs) and in Stade de France, four days in later, on November 18 (kick off 21.00 hrs – 20.00 hrs Irish time).
Giovanni Trapattoni said, “We performed strongly throughout the qualifying group stages. We were undefeated in all ten games and this is a reflection of how we have played and also the mental strength of this team. France have a strong squad but we go into this play off knowing that we are only 180 minutes away from qualifying for the World Cup.”
Republic of Ireland Squad v France Name Club
Shay Given Manchester City
Keiren Westwood Coventry City
Joe Murphy Scunthorpe
John O’Shea Manchester United
Richard Dunne Aston Villa
Stephen Kelly Fulham
Kevin Kilbane Hull City
Eddie Nolan Preston North End
Sean St. Ledger Middlesbrough
Paul McShane Hull City
Darren O’Dea Reading
Aiden McGeady Celtic
Damien Duff Fulham
Darron Gibson Manchester United
Glenn Whelan Stoke City
Keith Andrews Blackburn Rovers
Liam Miller Hibernian
Stephen Hunt Hull City
Andy Keogh Wolves
Liam Lawrence Stoke City
Kevin Doyle Wolves
Robbie Keane Tottenham Hotspur
Shane Long Reading
Leon Best Coventry City
Anthony Stokes Hibernian
Ireland face 1998 World Champions in 2010 World Cup play off
Following this afternoons FIFA World Cup, European zone, play-off draw, the Republic of Ireland will host France in Croke Park in the first leg of the play-off on Saturday, November 14th with the return leg being held at the Stade de France on Wednesday, November 18th.
Republic of Ireland manager, Giovanni Trapattoni said, “These games are like cup finals, we have come through the qualification group and are one of only five teams in Europe with an unbeaten record, that will give us self-belief going into these games.
We have done well so far but over the 180 minutes we must give something additional and we will have to be even more concentrated and focused than we have been until now.
We have come out of a group containing the current world champions, Italy and have got positive results against them in both games. Now we face the 2006 World Cup finalists and our results to date will give us the conviction and the belief that we can get a result,” added Trapattoni.
Blockbookers who purchased tickets for Italy & Montenegro will receive their ticket invoice in the coming days.
People who purchased via Ticketmaster & FAI/UMBRO Store in Carrolls only have until close of business on Wednesday (October 21st) to return their ticket stubs to the FAI to apply for play-off tickets.
Subject to availability, tickets for the home leg of the FIFA World Cup play-off may go on sale at a later date. Any further information on general sales will be posted on www.fai.ie.
In order to apply for tickets for the play-off away leg, please send an e-mail with your name, address & contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org stating the number of tickets that you wish to request (please only request the exact number of tickets required)