on December 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Ireland appeal to be 33rd team at World Cup: Blatter

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Ireland have appealed to world governing body FIFA to be allowed to compete as a 33rd team in next year’s World Cup finals, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Monday.

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 equalizer 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 told a keynote address 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.”

Blatter said that FIFA’s Executive Committee would consider Ireland’s appeal when they held their extra-ordinary meeting in Cape Town on Wednesday.

The draw for the 32-team World Cup will take place in Cape Town on Friday.

(Editing by Justin Palmer)