PARIS (AFP) - A replay of the controversial World Cup play-off match between France and the Republic of Ireland is out of the question, the French Football Federation (FFF) reiterated on Friday.
France captain Thierry Henry handled the ball in the build-up to the goal that took France to South Africa at Ireland's expense and he earlier said that "the fairest solution" to the ensuing row would be to replay the match.
The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) reacted to Henry's statement by reiterating its request for FIFA to sanction a replay.
But the FFF was quick to scotch any such talk, while expressing its sympathy with Ireland.
"The FFF understands the disappointment and bitterness of the Irish players, management and supporters. The federation never sought to deny the refereeing error which saw the equalising French goal allowed," it said in a statement.
"At the end of the match and because French football itself has suffered in the past by events of a similar nature, the FFF management expressed their regrets and sympathy to their Irish counterparts."
The federation added: "Thierry Henry, captain of the France team, spontaneously recognised his handball. He did it at the end of the match to Irish players and the referee, and then to the media.
"This candour and honesty are trademarks of the exemplary career that he has enjoyed at all his clubs as well as the national team. Given the pressure he has come under, the French Football Federation lends him total support."
The federation ended by saying: "The Football Assocation of Ireland yesterday asked FIFA for the game to be replayed. FIFA has today rejected this request, recalling the laws of the game which apply to all football matches.
"During matches, decisions are taken by the referee and these decisions are final. As a result, the result of the match cannot be changed and the match cannot be replayed.
"The FIFA decision is binding and applies to both federations."
|Coach: R. Domenech|
for J. Escudé 9'
for A. Gignac 56'
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