Ireland have appealed to FIFA to be allowed to compete as a 33rd team in next year’s World Cup finals, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has revealed.
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 equaliser 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 said at the Soccerex business conference.
“Naturally they have not asked for any sanctions to be given to any player or the referee, but they have asked, very humbly ‘can’t we be team No.33 at the World Cup? They have asked for that, really.
“I will bring it to the attention of the Executive Committee. I cannot confirm what will happen, but I will report it to the executive committee.”
However, Blatter says that Costa Rica would also then have to be included as they felt they were hard done by when conceding an offside goal against Uruguay.
“I will bring it to the attention of the executive committee but if we do that, we will also have to bring in Costa Rica.”
Blatter said that FIFA’s Executive Committee would consider Ireland’s appeal when they held their extra-ordinary meeting in Cape Town on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to cut down on cheating, Blatter said that additional referees behind each goal could be used at next summer’s World Cup finals.
The system, which is currently the subject of an experiment in the Europa League, could now be implemented by Fifa.
“It’s possible we will make additional officials for the World Cup but we have to see if it is feasible or realistic,” he said.
“Something has to be done in terms of match control. How can we avoid the cheating handball situation we had in that match?
“How can it happen that all over the world, through TV cameras, we have seen through a cheating handball that a pass was given for a goal?
“Everyone is asking what is and what isn’t fair play. The highest crime in football is touching the ball with the hands.”