Republic of Ireland defender Sean St Ledger has criticised the decision by Fifa not to punish French skipper Thierry Henry for his hand ball in the World Cup play off match between the two sides.
Henry appeared before football’s governing body but the disciplinary committee concluded there was no legal foundation to deal with the case.
The Barcelona striker handled the ball twice in the build-up to the decisive extra-time goal from William Gallas. But Fifa said they were powerless to act as only the illegal use of a hand to prevent a goal being scored is covered in relation to possible sanctions.
The decision means the 32-year-old former Arsenal player will not face a ban for any of France’s matches in the World Cup finals this summer.
Gallas’s goal saw France qualify 2 – 1 on aggregate and following the match Henry said the incident led to him thinking about quitting international football.
Speaking to the BBC, St Ledger said:
I’m shocked but not surprised really.
Obviously I don’t want to see players getting banned but at the same time it promotes, ‘if you can get away with it, then do it’.
I saw the handball again today and I still believe the second time he intentionally handballed it. Across the board we are all hurt from it.
I think it’s appalling that Fifa said they’ve got no legal foundation but they still have the power to change the rules and introduce the seedings.
If they’ve got the power to change that rule I don’t understand why they haven’t got the power to change the rule here. So, confusing but not surprising.
It won’t surprise me if France go on and win the World Cup.