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Republic of Ireland's World Cup plea rejected by Fifa

The Republic of Ireland players remonstrate with the referee after William Gallas' goal
The Republic players pleaded with the referee after Gallas's goal

Fifa has said it will not create an extra place at next year's World Cup finals for the Republic of Ireland.

The Irish had asked to be allowed in as a 33rd team after losing in the play-off against France, who won the tie with a controversial handball goal.

Fifa official Jerome Valcke said if the structure was changed it could lead to other nations lodging protests.

Meanwhile, Ireland's assistant boss Liam Brady claimed that Sepp Blatter had become "an embarrassment to Fifa".

Secretary general Valcke made it clear there was no way Ireland would be playing in South Africa.

"There was a request made by the Irish when we met them in Zurich a few days ago," said Valcke.

"They asked the question but the Fifa president was very clear in saying it was impossible because if we did so then way not Costa Rica and others?

There is no hope at all that there will be more than 32 teams at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa

Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke

"We told them that because they were making a special request that we would bring it to the attention of the FIFA executive committee members and it is what we will do.

"But you can imagine what it would mean, I would not say it is a nonsense, but it is impossible.

"There is no hope at all that there will be more than 32 teams at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa."

Brady was unhappy at Blatter's handling of the request that Fifa should allow the Irish to play at next year's finals.

Fifa president Blatter mentioned the Football Association of Ireland's plea at a press conference and it was greeted with laughter in the hall.

"It was very disrespectful how he presented this fact," insisted Brady.

The Republic's request to be added to the 32 qualified teams is set to be officially rejected at Wednesday's Fifa executive committee emergency meeting in Cape Town.

The world governing body is being tipped to approve proposals to have five referees at every match in next summer's finals.

This would be in response to the Republic's controversial World Cup play-off exit when William Gallas scored a decisive goal for France despite a blatant handball by Thierry Henry.

My country deserves more recognition from Blatter

Republic of Ireland assistant boss Liam Brady

Brady claimed the FAI, having already had calls for a replay rejected, had expected Fifa to consider the '33rd team' request in private.

He expressed dismay at the way Blatter had dealt with the saga since Giovanni Trapattoni's side were cruelly knocked out.

Explaining the decision to approach Fifa and ask to be included in the World Cup draw, Brady revealed the FAI knew the request was likely to be dismissed.

"When we asked for that we knew there was very little chance of that happening.

"We asked because we wanted to have them respond in a measured way, and see what they had to say.

"After all Mr Blatter was responsible for the (match) official.

"He didn't say anything about the appalling mistake the official made to miss a blatant handball."


Brady also praised the Republic team and supporters for keeping their cool after the misery of losing out to a goal which should have been disallowed, and said Fifa should have praised that sporting attitude.

"I think my country deserves more recognition from Blatter," Brady said.

"He has currently ignored most of the controversial things that went on that evening.

"He never had anything to say about that at all, like Henry's behaviour after scoring the goal and how that stands within his campaign to have fair play within the game.

"Henry celebrates as if he's done nothing wrong. Is that fair play? Hardly.

"But Mr Blatter chose to talk about the request to be considered as the 33rd team."

Following Brady's attack, Franz Beckenbauer told BBC Radio 5 Live: "Sepp Blatter is an excellent president. He speaks all the languages, he has all connections to even to the smallest federation. He is perfect for this job."

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see also
Houllier defends Henry's handball
01 Dec 09 |  Internationals
Republic ask for extra Cup place
30 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Fifa turns down Irish replay plea
20 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Keane has no sympathy for Irish
20 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Reaction to Republic of Ireland exit
19 Nov 09 |  Football
The hand of Henry
19 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Anger on the airwaves in Dublin
19 Nov 09 |  Europe
Irish 'cheated' by Henry handball
19 Nov 09 |  Internationals
It was a handball - Henry
19 Nov 09 |  Internationals
France 1-1 Rep of Ire (agg 2-1)
18 Nov 09 |  Internationals

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