Fifa to discuss World Cup controversy

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FIFA president Sepp Blatter has called an extraordinary meeting of the world governing body's executive committee in response to the Republic of Ireland's controversial defeat by France in the World Cup play-offs.

The meeting in Cape Town next week has also been called in response to the hundreds of arrests across Europe by officers investigating corruption in football.

FIFA said in a statement: "Due to recent events in the world of football, namely incidents at the play-offs for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, match control (refereeing) and irregularities in the football betting market, the FIFA president has called an extraordinary meeting of the executive committee.

"The extraordinary meeting of the executive committee will take place in Cape Town on 2 December 2009."

On Friday, FIFA rejected the Football Association of Ireland's formal request for a replay following Thierry Henry's handball in the build-up to the decisive goal, saying: "The result of the match cannot be changed and the match cannot be replayed. As is clearly mentioned in the Laws of the Game, during matches, decisions are taken by the referee and these decisions are final."

Henry said his reaction in handling the ball had been a split-second instinctive reaction.

The French striker said: "I have said at the time and I will say again that yes I handled the ball. I am not a cheat and never have been.

"It was an instinctive reaction to a ball that was coming extremely fast in a crowded penalty area."

The FAI do not have the right of an appeal to FIFA or to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.