Barcelona striker Thierry Henry has today issued a statement claiming that replaying France's controversial World Cup qualifying play-off with the Republic of Ireland would be "the fairest solution".
forward, whose handball in the run-up to William Gallas's extra-time
winner for Les Bleus has led to an official request from the FAI to
FIFA to replay the game, admits that he controlled the ball with his
hands but has denied that he is a cheat.
"I have said at the time and I will say again that, yes, I handled the ball," he said, according to Sky Sports News.
am not a cheat and never have been. It was an instinctive reaction to a
ball that was coming extremely fast in a crowded penalty area.
a footballer you do not have the luxury of the television to slow the
pace of the ball down 100 times to be able make a conscious decision.
"People are viewing slow motion version of what happened and not what I or any other footballer faces in the game.
"If people look at it in full speed you'll see that it was an instinctive reaction.
is impossible to be anything other than that. I have never denied that
the ball was controlled with my hand. I told the Irish players, the
referee and the media this after the game.
"Naturally I feel
embarrassed at the way we won and feel extremely sorry for the Irish
who definitely deserve to be in South Africa.
"Of course, the fairest solution would be to replay the game but it is not in my control.
is little more I can do apart from admit that the ball had contact with
my hands leading up to our equalizing goal and I feel very sorry for
Zack Wilson, Goal.com
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