Republic Of Ireland And France Replay Unlikely Under FIFA Ruling

Any calls for a play-off replay will likely be rejected.

Justice Minister for the Republic of Ireland, Dermot Ahern, has called for a replay of the second-leg play-off that resulted in a 1-1 tie after extra-time, denying Ireland a passage to the World Cup finals in South Africa due to a contentious added-time goal struck by France defender William Gallas after a hand-ball by Thierry Henry.

However, Ahern's desire for a rematch will likely be rejected, as they contravene FIFA ruling that explicitly state that the referee's decision is final.

Law 5 of the Laws of the Game state that: "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."

It continues: "The referee may only change a decision on realizing that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee or the fourth official, provided that he has not restarted play or terminated the match."

In relation to the standard of overall refereeing, and the inclusion of video technology, FIFA issued the following comment, claiming that technology would jeopardize the human element of the game, while additional referees are currently in experimental stages: "FIFA has consistently underlined that it is crucial that the same laws and conditions must apply worldwide so as to avoid any distortions in competitions, including the World Cup.

"For example, for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, there have been over 850 preliminary qualifying matches played on six continents in order to determine the 31 countries joining South Africa in the draw next month.

"Amongst others issues, the questions of the human aspect of the game as well as the universality of the Laws of the Game have to be taken into consideration.

"The International Football Association Board (IFAB) which is the custodian of the Laws of the Game, decided at their Annual General Meeting in 2009 to introduce Additional Assistant Referees into a top level competition.

"The season-long implementation in the UEFA Europa League will conclude in May 2010, and a full analysis will be reviewed by IFAB at its annual meeting in 2011.

"IFAB sees each of the four 'Home Nations' have one vote each, whilst FIFA also has four votes which represents the other 204 FIFA Member Associations. For any proposal regarding the Laws of the Game to be approved, any proposal requires a 75 per cent majority."

Alan Dawson,

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