Tournament News

Sarkozy apologises to Ireland

2009-11-20 07:30
Frenck president Nicolas Sarkozy (File)

Brussels - French president Nicolas Sarkozy apologised to Irish prime minister Brian Cowen for France's controversial victory over Ireland in their World Cup play-off on Wednesday, but would not agree to a replay.

Cowen raised the issue of replaying the match with his French counterpart at a European Union summit in Brussels on Thursday after French captain Thierry Henry admitted he handled the ball in the build-up to William Gallas's winning goal in Paris.

Sarkozy said he was sympathetic to Ireland's position, but could not support Cowen's call for restaging the game.

"I told Brian Cowen how sorry I was for them," Sarkozy told reporters. "But don't ask me to substitute myself for the referee, or the French football authorities, or the European football authorities: leave me right where I am."

Cowen earlier backed an appeal by the Football Association of Ireland to soccer's world governing body FIFA to have the game replayed.

"Yes, I do (support the FAI). Our minister of sport will write to FIFA in support of that complaint and look for a re-match," he said.

"He (Sarkozy) would understand the sense of disappointment that the Irish people feel after the tremendous performance last night I think that fair play is a fundamental part of the game."

The FAI have asked FIFA to order a replay of the controversial World Cup playoff against France.

Irish soccer authorities said the extra time goal at the Stade de France, which gave France a 2-1 aggregate win and dominated news bulletins in Ireland all day, as well as being discussed in parliament, had "damaged the integrity of the sport."

Citing a decision to invalidate the result of a World Cup qualifier between Uzbekistan and Bahrain in 2005 as a precedent, FAI chief executive John Delaney said he was not calling for a replay simply out of principle.

FIFA officials said that any replay would need the agreement of both football associations before the governing body could consider such an appeal.

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
48 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk

Updated: Hottest SWC WAGs

Updated: Hottest SWC 2010 WAGs

Vote

World Cup 2010 is over and the country is returning to normal - but have you moved on yet?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.