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Creation: 11/03/2010 19:23
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bandu2 : menu_arrow.gif Article: 2010 FIFA World Cup :: Qualification controversies - 11/03/2010 19:30

2010 FIFA World Cup :: Qualification controversies

Controversy surrounded several of the final qualification matches in November 2009.

In the second leg of the play-off between France and the Republic of Ireland French captain Thierry Henry, unseen by the referee, illegally handled the ball in the lead up to the winning goal, which saw France make the final 32 teams ahead of Ireland. The incident caused widespread debate on FIFA Fair Play, and how matches should be refereed at the highest level. The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) requested a replay on grounds of fairness, but this was denied by FIFA under the Laws of the Game.[2] A widely reported later request by Ireland to be included as an unprecedented 33rd World Cup entrant was later withdrawn by the FAI, and dismissed by the FAI as peripheral to their other more substantial petitions for change in world football made to FIFA.[3][4]

Costa Rica also complained over Uruguay's winning goal in the CONMEBOL–CONCACAF playoff.[5]

There was crowd trouble around two matches between Egypt and Algeria, with the Algerian team bus stoned before the first in Cairo, and reports of Egyptian fans ambushed after the second in Khartoum, Sudan. Local media made lurid reports, and diplomatic relations between the countries nosedived.

In response to the incidents during qualification, and to a match fixing controversy, on 2 December 2009 FIFA called for an extraordinary general meeting of their Executive Committee. After the meeting, FIFA announced that they would be setting up an inquiry into technology and extra officials in the game, but they did not announce the widely-expected move of fast-tracking the introduction of goal-line referee's assistants, already being trialled in the Europa League, and instead restated that the competition in South Africa would be officiated as before, with just one referee, two assistants, and a fourth official.[6] On the subject of fair play, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said:

I appeal to all the players and coaches to observe this fair play. In 2010 we want to prove that football is more than just kicking a ball but has social and cultural value...So we ask the players 'please observe fair play' so they will be an example to the rest of the world.