Tournament News

Blatter a 'loose cannon'

2009-12-02 07:46

Johannesburg - Liam Brady has branded FIFA president Sepp Blatter a "loose cannon" over his handling of the Republic of Ireland's bid to become the 33rd team at the World Cup finals.

FIFA rejected the Football Association of Ireland's request to replay the Republic's play-off defeat against France, which was decided by a Thierry Henry handball not seen by the match officials.

And Republic assistant manager Brady expects FIFA to reject the FAI's '33rd team' request at an emergency meeting of their executive committee in Cape Town on Wednesday.

"That's not going to happen," he told Sky Sports News, before revealing his anger at the manner in which Blatter has made the FAI request public.

"He (Blatter) is a bit of a loose cannon," said Brady. "He's an embarrassment to FIFA.

"We asked that to see what FIFA's reaction was going to be. I think when we asked for that we knew there was very little chance of that happening.

"We asked because we wanted to have them respond in a measured way, and see what they had to say.

"After all Mr Blatter was responsible for the (match) official. He didn't say anything about the appalling mistake the official made to miss a blatant handball."

Brady said the FAI had expected FIFA to consider the '33rd team' request in private. And the former Republic midfielder was shocked when Blatter told a news conference that the FAI's appeal had been lodged with FIFA.

"I'm afraid Mr Blatter is a law unto himself," Brady said. "I thought it was very disrespectful how he presented this fact.

"He's currently ignored most of the controversial things that went on that evening. He never had anything to say about that at all, like Henry's behaviour after scoring the goal and how that stands within his campaign to have fair play within the game.

"Henry celebrates as if he's done nothing wrong. Is that fair play? Hardly.

"But Mr Blatter chose to talk about the request to be considered as the 33rd team."

Blatter has set the tone for Wednesday's meeting by saying they would "also have to bring in Costa Rica" who were denied a place in South Africa by an offside goal scored by Uruguay in their play-off.

Adding additional teams would also throw Friday's finals draw into complete chaos as it would affect the whole structure of the tournament.

FIFA are expected to approve Michel Platini's plan of having five referees - an extra official behind each goal-line - at each match of next year's finals in response to the play-off controversy, a system being trialled in this season's Europa League.

The proposal would then go to the International Football Association Board (IFAB) - the game's rule-making body - for a vote but it would almost certainly be passed.

One FIFA executive committee member told Press Association Sport: "The mood is that something has to be done and the easiest solution is to bring in the extra assistant referees."

The IFAB is made up of the four home associations, who each have a vote, and FIFA who have four votes. Any proposal needs six out of eight votes to be carried.

Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith has already revealed that he would look kindly on the five-referees plan, and England are also nailed on to back FIFA and UEFA because they will not want to upset them in the year of their bid for the 2018 World Cup.

Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier is also keen to see two extra officials introduced.

Speaking at the Soccerex conference in Johannesburg, he said: "You do have a lot of problems in the penalty area, and it would help if there were two extra men behind the goal to help the referee. FIFA should consider this."

Houllier also revealed he is favour of goalline technology and believes it could help solve rows like the one created by Henry's handball.

"With the Thierry Henry handball as an example, the fourth official should have a monitor," he said. "It would have saved Thierry a lot of abuse.

"Half of France thinks we should not be going to the World Cup. We could have been spared those sentiments if the fourth official had a monitor."

There have been suggestions that Henry may face disciplinary action from the executive committee for his handball in the build-up to William Gallas' decisive goal. That cannot be ruled out but there is no precedent for such an action.

Houllier for one does not believe he will be punished.

"Thierry is too honest a person to have done this immorally. It was not premeditated," Houllier said on Radio Five Live.

"I don't think he'll be punished and even if the goal had not been allowed, they (Ireland) would not have qualified. It would have gone to penalties." 

 

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