Ireland gives up effort to force replay
DUBLIN -- Ireland has given up hope of a World Cup playoff replay against France because of Thierry Henry's handball.
Henry's deliberate handling set up a goal for William Gallas in Wednesday's 1-1 draw that sent France to next year's tournament and knocked out Ireland. The Irish appealed to the French federation to agree to a replay but were turned down Friday.
"We regret that despite our best efforts for a replay, which would have restored the integrity of the game in front of a worldwide audience, our calls appear to have fallen on deaf ears at the French Football Federation," Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney said Saturday.
"Without doubt, the credibility of fair play has been damaged by this incident in front of a worldwide audience."
Although FIFA ruled on Friday there would be no replay, the Irish still made an official request to the French to back their case in a bid to get the world governing body to change its mind. The French responded by saying it understood the disappointment and bitterness of the Irish but the result could not be changed.
Delaney said the FAI would urge FIFA to make sure the problem didn't happen again.
"Despite our deep disappointment, we thank our players, the wonderful Irish fans and the Irish public at large for their support, as well as the solidarity of the French people," he said.
"We will continue to call on FIFA to take action to ensure that such damaging examples of cheating are not allowed to recur."