DUBLIN (AFP) - Irish football chiefs renewed Friday an appeal for FIFA to order a handball-marred World Cup playoff with France to be replayed, after Thierry Henry said a re-match would be the "fairest solution."
The Football Association of Ireland "called on the French Football Federation ... to join with it and the captains of both the French and Irish teams, Thierry Henry and Robbie Keane, to request a replay from FIFA," it said.
Earlier Friday the French captain repeated his admission that he had controlled the ball with his hand before the decisive goal in Wednesday's disputed match in Paris, but insisted it had been an "instinctive" reaction.
In a statement released in Dublin after a meeting of its management board, the FAI said that only a replay "would protect the integrity of the game worldwide and the pride of the French national team".
It noted that the French Football Federation had said it would "comply with whatever FIFA decides and welcomed the French team captain's statement that a replay would be the fairest solution".
Related article: Henry says replay 'fairest solution'
"Lastly, the FAI's Board of management noted FIFA's earlier response on the issue and has sent a separate reply," it said, referring to a FIFA statement saying that it would not order a replay.
. Irish captain Keane also welcomed Henry's admission that a replay would be the fairest option. "As captain of the French team, to make such a statement took courage and honour, and all of us recognise that," he said.
"As captain of the Republic of Ireland team, I would also be happy for a replay to happen in the interest of fair play so
that whichever team qualifies, can do so with their heads held high.
Related article: France debates 'cheat' row
"We can only hope that the French Football Federation might accept the wishes of both captains in the best interests of the game," added Keane.
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