Monday, November 30, 2009

Ireland appeal to be 33rd team at World Cup: Blatter

By Mike Collett


JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Ireland have appealed to world governing body FIFA to be allowed to compete as a 33rd team in next year's World Cup finals, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Monday.

Ireland were eliminated from the competition earlier this month by France after Thierry Henry handled the ball in the build-up to William Gallas's equalizer that gave France a 1-1 draw and a 2-1 aggregate playoff win.

"We received a delegation from Ireland at FIFA and they were naturally absolutely unhappy at what has happened. They know the match cannot be replayed and the decision of the referee is final," Blatter told a keynote address at the Soccerex business conference.

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