Brady rages against Blatter

Assistant manager targets Fifa president after Ireland's bid for '33rd place' is rejected
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The Independent Online

The Republic of Ireland assistant manager, Liam Brady, yesterday claimed that Sepp Blatter has become a "loose cannon" and "an embarrassment to Fifa".

The Republic were beaten by France in their play-off by a goal which should have been disallowed due to Thierry Henry's handball and Blatter, the president of Fifa, revealed that Ireland had asked to be installed as a 33rd team at the World Cup, a request which was dismissed yesterday.

Brady claimed the Football Association of Ireland, having already had calls for a replay rejected, had expected Fifa to consider the "33rd team" request in private, rather than go public, and he expressed dismay at the way Blatter has dealt with the affair.

"He's a bit of a loose cannon. He's an embarrassment to Fifa," Brady said. Explaining the decision to approach Fifa and ask to be included in the World Cup draw, Brady added that the FAI knew the request was likely to be dismissed.

He said: "I think when we asked for that we knew there was very little chance of that happening. We asked because we wanted to have them respond in a measured way, and see what they had to say. After all Mr Blatter was responsible for the [match] official. He didn't say anything about the appalling mistake the official made to miss a blatant handball."

Brady also praised the Republic team and supporters for keeping their cool after the misery of losing in such a fashion, and said Fifa should have credited that sporting attitude. "I think my country deserves more recognition from Mr Blatter," Brady said.

The former Republic midfielder was shocked when Blatter told a news conference that the FAI's appeal had been lodged with Fifa.

"I'm afraid Mr Blatter is a law unto himself," Brady said. "I thought it was very disrespectful how he presented this fact. He's currently ignored most of the controversial things that went on that evening. He never had anything to say about that at all, like Henry's behaviour after scoring the goal and how that stands within his campaign to have fair play within the game. Henry celebrates as if he's done nothing wrong. Is that fair play? Hardly. But Mr Blatter chose to talk about the request to be considered as the 33rd team."

Brady added: "People will be watching Mr Blatter closely and his decisions closely from now on. Of course England will have a lot to do with it because they're trying to get the World Cup in 2018 and Mr Blatter will have a big say."

Brady accepts there is no chance the Republic will be at the World Cup finals but is irked by Blatter's attitude to the situation.

He said: "I think when it comes to the big games, the big decisions in football, you'll find it's the big teams that get the decisions. But forget about that. We can accept that. What we can't accept is how he presented the case to the media in South Africa yesterday. He needs to show some respect."

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