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Irish ask for extra World Cup place

WORLD governing body Fifa are set to turn down the Republic of Ireland&rsquo;s extraordinary request that they be allowed to play at next summer&rsquo;s World Cup as an extra team.<br /><br />Fifa president Sepp Blatter revealed Irish chiefs suggested the unprecedented move following last month&rsquo;s play-off defeat to France, which featured Thierry Henry&rsquo;s now-infamous handball.<br /><br />The request will be discussed at tomorrow&rsquo;s extraordinary executive committee meeting, convened to dissect a number of issues that arose during the play-offs. But Blatter has already hinted strongly that Ireland&rsquo;s wish will not be granted for fear of triggering copycat cases, with Costa Rica also feeling aggrieved at the manner of their elimination.<br /><br />&ldquo;Naturally they Ireland were unhappy with what happened and asked very humbly whether they could be team No33,&rdquo; said Blatter. &ldquo;I will bring it to the attention of the executive committee but if we do that, we will also have to bring in Costa Rica.&rdquo;<br /><br />The Football Association of Ireland confirmed it had made the request during a meeting with Blatter on Friday, adding that they had also suggested stronger measures to discourage cheating. And Blatter conceded the furore had prompted Fifa to consider scrapping the play-off format and introducing extra officials before the finals.<br /><br />&ldquo;On one match it is decided if you are in or out and this is not the spirit behind this World Cup. We must have a look at this. There is so much at stake,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s possible we will make additional officials for the World Cup but we have to see if it is feasible or realistic. Something has to be done in terms of match control.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s possible we will make additional officials for the World Cup but we have to see if it is feasible or realistic. Something has to be done in terms of match control.&rdquo;<br /><br />Fifa and France have both already turned down Ireland&rsquo;s request to replay the second leg of their play-off, in which Henry&rsquo;s handball allowed William Gallas to score the decisive goal. Costa Rica believe they were eliminated by an offside goal scored by Uruguay.