France President Nicolas Sarkozy Apologises For Thierry Henry Handball Incident

President Sarkozy hoping to sooth tensions...
France president Nicolas Sarkozy has apologised to the Republic of Ireland for Thierry Henry's blatant handball that saw the Boys in Green bow out in their quest for qualification to the 2010 World Cup.

Giovanni Trapattoni's charges were in the lead during extra-time, when a free-kick from Florent Malouda saw Henry clearly handle the ball before providing an assist for William Gallas to nod the ball home.

The political head of France admitted that he had apologised to his Irish counterpart, but maintained that the incident will be free from political interference, as it was a matter for the sporting authorities to resolve.

Following talks with the Irish prime minister at a European Union summit in Brussels, Sarkozy told reporters: "I told Brian Cowen how sorry I was for them.

"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 echoed similar sentiments, but explained that his country would seek a re-match, owing to the consequences of the handball incident.

"This matter's going to be resolved by the sports organisations with responsibility for football, not in Brussels or anywhere else," he said.

"Our minister of sport will write to FIFA in support of that complaint and look for a re-match."

However, according to Law 5 in the Laws of the Game: “The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match, are final,”, and as a result, it remains unlikely that a re-match will be granted.

Adithya Ananth, UK