FIFA have rejected Republic of Ireland’s request to become the 33rd team to qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.
The Football Association of Ireland made the request in the wake of the controversial defeat to France.
Barcelona striker Thierry Henry clearly controlled the ball with his hand before crossing for William Gallas to score an extra-time equaliser which secured a 2-1 aggregate victory at the Stade de France.
Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke admitted it was “impossible” to change the structure of the tournament, with the draw due to take place in Cape Town on Friday.
“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?
“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.”
Fifa president Sepp Blatter has already angered Ireland assistant coach Liam Brady with the manner in which he revealed the Republic’s request, with Brady branding him “an embarrassment” and a “loose cannon”.
Brady claimed the FAI, having already had calls for a replay rejected, had expected Fifa to consider the ’33rd team’ request in private.