FIFA Calls For An "Extraordinary" Meeting In Light Of Controversy
Sepp Blatter, the President of the world soccer governing body FIFA has called for an "extraordinary" meeting of FIFA's Executive Committee "due to recent events in the world of football." In a statement released on its website today, FIFA said "incidents at the play-offs for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, match control (refereeing) and irregularities in the football betting market," necessitated an extraordinary meeting of the Federation's Executive Committee. The meeting was scheduled for December 2 in Cape Town, South Africa.
The emergency meeting will no doubt center on the recent World Cup play-off game between France and Ireland that stirred quite a bit of controversy when French team captain Thierry Henry played handball seconds before the decisive goal was scored by William Gallas. However, the referee did not see the handball, and the goal was counted, seeing France through into the World Cup finals in South Africa next summer.
The incident prompted the Irish Football Federation to file an official complaint with FIFA, demanding a match replay. The request was never satisfied by FIFA. But, it got the soccer world buzzing for a while. Many fans started questioning the integrity of FIFA and its referees in the wake of the incident.
Amidst controversy, French captain Thierry Henry said he felt "alone" after the incident, saying the French football federation could have been more supportive of him. Henry has admitted to playing handball, and urged for a replay of the match. He even considered retiring from the French national team over the incident.
"The day after the match, and the day after that, I felt alone, really alone," he said. "It was only after I issued my statement that the people from the French Federation got in touch."
Other matters likely to be touched upon in the FIFA's December meeting are the ongoing investigation into match-fixing at European clubs and allowing referees to review goals with video technologies. The violence following Algeria-Egypt match that took place on November 14 could also make it onto agenda.
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