Thierry Henry escapes handball punishment
FIFA have confirmed that Thierry Henry will not be punished for his handball during a World Cup play-off against Ireland last November.
The Barcelona striker handled the ball twice in the build up to France’s winning goal, but FIFA have announced that he will escape any reprimand citing that there is no legal foundation for the case.
According to FIFA, the only type of handball which can be punished retrospectively is one that prevents a goal-scoring opportunity.
The Football Association of Ireland had called for the 32-year-old to be punished by FIFA after the incident cost Ireland the chance of a place in the summer’s World Cup. The Irish media went into overdrive with Henry being publicly derided for his lack of sportsmanship.
In a statement released on Monday, football’s governing body said:
“Handling the ball cannot be regarded as a serious infringement as stipulated in the Fifa disciplinary code. There is no other legal text that would allow the committee to impose sanctions for any incidents missed by match officials.”
Ireland were leading 1-0 at the Stade de France as the game continued deep into injury time with the tie level on aggregate. Henry’s handball set up Gallas to score the deciding goal in the tie and dash Irish hopes for a trip to South Africa.
Henry did apologise for the incident and admitted he was considering whether to retire from international football.