The Bottom Corner: Is FIFA Just a Bunch of Muppets?

Salaar ShamsiSenior Writer INovember 20, 2009

PARIS - FRANCE-NOVEMBER 18: Shay Given (L),Liam Lawrence (C) and Darron Gibson (R) of Ireland react after the 1-1 draw which saw Ireland lose 2-1 on aggregate during the France v Republic of Ireland FIFA 2010 World Cup Qualifying Play Off second leg match at the Stade de France on November 18, 2009 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

FIFA have dashed the Republic of Ireland's hopes of replaying their World Cup qualifying play-off with France.

The Football Association of Ireland requested a replay after Thierry Henry's clear handball in the build-up to William Gallas' decisive goal.

Thierry Henry admitted to handling the ball, but it doesn't mean anything to the Irish, who were absolutely sensational throughout the game—they played their hearts out and deserve to be in South Africa next year.

The goal has created an outrage in the football world, many have blasted Henry for having no morals and drawn comparisons to Diego Maradona’s "Hand of God" goal.

Irish supporters rightly claim they have been robbed of an opportunity to be part of the World Cup.

It’s a real shame to see the Irish bow out especially after seeing how Ireland dominated the game, the level of passion and spirit showed by Giovanni Trappatoni’s men was truly spectacular.

Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn has described the event as ‘the greatest injustice in sport.’

Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Ray Houghton has called for FIFA president Sepp Blatter to make a public statement on the decision by football's world governing body.

"Where is Sepp Blatter? Why hasn't he come out and stood up and told everyone how it is."

"He's very good at telling other countries how to run their game. It really needed the top man to come out and tell the footballing public why they have made this decision."

If you have a look at how FIFA responded to this controversy, you might begin to question the credibility of the game’s leading body.

FIFA stated that the result of the match cannot be changed and the match cannot be replayed because it is clearly mentioned in the laws of the game that decisions taken by the referee are final.

A statement released by FIFA reads :

"There is no way the game can replayed”.

"To do so would cause absolute chaos for football. If it was replayed then every match in the future would also be subject to these calls for a replay any time a referee misses an incident”

"FIFA's rules are absolutely clear. Law 5 states that a referee's decision on points of fact are final. That is the end of it. You cannot replay the match on this basis."

"You have to have a rule that says the referee's judgement is always right."

The FAI had claimed there was a precedent because FIFA ordered Uzbekistan to replay Bahrain in 2006 World Cup qualifier when the referee made a "technical error" after a penalty had been awarded.

However, in that instance, the referee was guilty of wrongly applying the rules rather than missing an offence, he awarded an indirect free-kick against Uzbekistan when one of their players encroached on the Bahrain penalty area as the Uzbeks successfully converted a penalty.

The correct decision would have been to order the penalty to be retaken.

Personally, I’m beginning to question whatever happened to FIFA and its fair play campaign?

My heart goes out to the thousands of Irish fans who travelled to Paris and have been wrongly denied a chance to support their heroes in South Africa.

Perhaps, FIFA just doesn’t have the balls to stand up to the French who are, make no mistake about it, one of the strongest parties in world football.

A World Cup without France, where it might be just, would’ve hit FIFA and the French as hard as a jawbreaker.

It’s extremely unfortunate that we won’t get to see the likes of Shay Given, Damien Duff, Robbie Keane, and Kevin Doyle in South Africa but football is really cruel game, isn’t it?

FIFA may have gone by their own rules here but they clearly haven’t done the right thing.

The problem with bringing video technology into the game, many tend to argue, is that it will affect the human aspect and the natural beauty and intensity of the sport. Well, when you get results like this, is it a risk worth taking?

Has FIFA shown double standards here?

Hold that thought for now.

That's it from The Bottom Corner, here's Salaar Shamsi signing off, until next time, it's goodbye.