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Dec 3, 2009

FIFA investigate Henry, reject extra refs

France striker Thierry Henry is to be investigated by FIFA's disciplinary committee over his handball against the Republic of Ireland. Henry handled the ball to set up William Gallas' equalising goal to take the French side through to the World Cup Finals in South Africa, ending Ireland's dream.

• Warshaw: FIFA give and take away

FIFA president Sepp Blatter called an extraordinary general meeting in the wake of the play-off controversy, and FIFA confirmed on Wednesday that they would now look into the incident. Blatter insisted that there was no certainty Henry would be banned.

He said: "I have not said that Thierry Henry will be punished, I have said that Thierry Henry will be examined by the disciplinary committee of FIFA.''

Blatter said players should realise that the eyes of the world will be on them next summer.

"I appeal to all the players and coaches to observe this fair play. In 2010 we want to prove that football is more than just kicking a ball but has social and cultural value,'' Blatter added. "So we ask the players 'please observe fair play' so they will be an example to the rest of the world.''

Meanwhile, FIFA's executive committee have decided against bringing in the five-referees system for next summer's World Cup but have announced an inquiry to consider both technology and extra officials.

It was widely expected that FIFA would approve UEFA president Michel Platini's five match officials concept, an extra assistant referee behind each goal, in the wake of the Henry incident. However, the system, being trialled in this season's Europa League, was not accepted by the committee.

Blatter said the World Cup would come too soon to allow the inclusion of the system currently being trialled in the Europa League, with two extra assistant referees behind each goal-line.

The FIFA president said: ''The executive committee came to the decision that the referee is not any longer consistent with the quality and the speed of the game, and the interest of television and 32 cameras as we will have in the World Cup.

''We shall have a look at technology or additional persons and this shall be done by a committee but not the referees committee alone, it will be done by the football, technical and medical committees, too.

''The experiments with the Europa League shall go on into the knockout stages next year but it has been decided, for the World Cup 2010, there is no change in the refereeing: one referee, two assistants and a fourth official.

''We do not ignore the experiments but they are being made in only one professional league in Europe. Most of those referees will not be selected for the World Cup.

''In the other countries the experiments have not been made so it's the opinion, not only of the executive committee but other committees, too, that an experiment must be carried out globally before you can put it into the World Cup.''

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