FIFA have refused the Republic of Ireland permission to bring Celtic midfielder Colin Healy in to their World Cup squad as a replacement for skipper Roy Keane.

According to the competition rules, players can only be replaced at this late juncture for reasons of injury or special circumstances, but FIFA have ruled that Keane left of his own accord and therefore cannot be replaced.

FIFA spokesman Keith Cooper said: “Roy Keane has not been declared unfit, therefore he cannot be replaced. Ireland have until 24 hours before their first match to ask to fly-in a replacement but in the absence of a medical note informing an injury it would not be accepted.”

FAI general secretary Brendan Menton was disappointed by the decision.

“We made a case for exceptional circumstances – rather than on medical grounds – but we weren’t confident we would win it, and that has turned out to be the case,” he said.

“We have a squad of 22 players and Mick is happy to work with that. There is no point in knocking our heads against a brick wall, we need to get on with it and look forward.”