Irish clamour for replay set to be rejected out of hand

DEJECTED Republic of Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni has conceded there is no chance of their hugely controversial World Cup play-off with France being replayed.<br /><br />The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) have demanded world governing body Fifa stage a re-run, after Thierry Henry admitted handling the ball in the build-up to William Gallas&rsquo;s decisive extra-time goal.<br /><br />Ireland&rsquo;s Justice Minister Dermot Ahern and Trapattoni&rsquo;s assistant Liam Brady have also joined players in calling for a replay of Wednesday&rsquo;s heartbreaking clash in Paris, which has provoked huge public outcry.<br /><br />But Fifa will reject pleas, or risk setting a precedent that would be sure to trigger a litany of copycat requests.<br /><br />And Trapattoni yesterday chose not to add his voice to the clamour, declaring he was resigned to a defeat the vastly experienced Italian called &ldquo;bitter&rdquo;.<br /><br />&ldquo;We know it will be impossible for the game against France to be replayed,&rdquo; said the 70-year-old, who instead questioned Fifa&rsquo;s choice of Swedish referee Martin Hansson.<br /><br />&ldquo;All fans saw what happened on the pitch. I would only like Fifa to explain how they selected the referee for this important game. For this important game we needed a stronger referee, an important referee.&rdquo;<br /><br />Trapattoni also absolved Henry of blame, saying of the Barcelona striker: &ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t up to Henry to say, &lsquo;I touched it with my hand&rsquo;.&rdquo;<br /><br />FAI chief executive John Delaney challenged Fifa to &ldquo;step up to the plate&rdquo; by ordering a replay. &ldquo;I really believe the integrity of the game has been questioned,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;This is their opportunity to step forward.&rdquo; <br /><br />Delaney also called on French football chiefs to act, adding: &ldquo;We have got to do what we have to do. We owe it to the players, who were magnificent.&rdquo;<br /><br />Ahern also railed against Henry&rsquo;s &ldquo;blatant double handball&rdquo;, but noted: &ldquo;They probably won&rsquo;t grant it as we are minnows in world football but let&rsquo;s put them on the spot.&rdquo;<br /><br />Fifa acknowledged the FAI&rsquo;s complaint but effectively ruled out a replay by pointing to rules that state: &ldquo;No protests may be made about the referee&rsquo;s decisions regarding facts connected with play. Such decisions are final, unless otherwise stipulated in the Fifa Disciplinary Code.&rdquo;<br />