Afternoon Ticker: Ireland ask to be 33rd World Cup team, Henry may be punished and more


The story of Thierry Henry's handball just won't go away. Almost two weeks have elapsed since Ireland was knocked out, and the Football Association of Ireland refuses to leave without a final word. The FAI asked FIFA last week about being the 33rd nation in the World Cup next year, as a result of the unfair loss against France on November 18.

While the referee missed Henry's blatant handball, asking for an extra spot in the Cup is a bit of a stretch. There's certainly no way of knowing if Ireland would have gone on to win the game, presuming another goal wasn't scored and the game was decided by penalties.

The aftermath of Henry's actions won't go away, but the FAI can take a better approach to this — by pushing for FIFA to include extra referees or perhaps the use of video replay in future matches. To no surprise, FIFA turned down the request.

Here are some other stories for Monday afternoon:

Henry may receive punishment for handball

The never-ending story continues, with Sepp Blatter indicating that the French striker may receive punishment for his actions as part of a quest to reduce the amount of cheating prior to the World Cup.

"There is a lack of discipline and respect in the game by the players because they are cheating by playing with the hand, pulling shirts and diving. We have to fight against that," Blatter told the Guardian.

Punishment or not, simple rule changes won't easily eliminate some of the incessant problems soccer faces at both an international and club level. Blatter also referenced the possibility of removing the two-legged playoff system to determine final qualifications for the World Cup.

Premier League teams dole out £70.6 million in agent fees

It was a first in England this week as the amount paid to agents was revealed. The sum paid by Premier League clubs was a staggering £70.6 million, led by free-spending Manchester City and Chelsea, from October 2008 to September 2009..

The Citizens led all Premier League teams with a tidy £12.6 million paid out in the acquisitions of players like Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez and Joleon Lescott. Right behind them was Chelsea at £9.5 million, followed by Liverpool and Tottenham with £6.7 million and £6.1 million respectively.

At the bottom of the heap was Burnley, in the midst of their first season in the Premier League, at just £486,000.

Stars set to snub City

In the midst of a middling Premier League season campaign, reinforcements might not be arriving for the world's richest club. Manchester City just suffered a seventh consecutive draw, and despite deep pockets may not be to bring in a massive signing because the club isn't taken seriously by the best players.

While City may not have a clear target, with the Champions League looking like a real long shot at this point, a £50 million offer for Fernando Torres was reportedly rejected over the summer. A move for a veteran star from the continent may be the best and most available option for the club watching Champions League aspirations fall by the wayside.

What do you think of Ireland asking to be included at the World Cup? Is it fair for Henry to be punished for his handball? Do agents get paid too much in the EPL? When will City get their next big name?

Share your thoughts below.

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55 Responses to Afternoon Ticker: Ireland ask to be 33rd World Cup team, Henry may be punished and more

  1. dman says:

    I’m sorry but if Ireland gets into the world cup I will be really upset….

    If it happens can we go back to 2002 and replay the US vs Germany game? Or can the US be a 5th team in the semi finals?

  2. mrdot says:

    Ireland are not going to get a consolation spot at the cup. The fact that the press (and the odd opportunistic politician) is still making hay over this is completely stupid and disingenuous.

  3. Obe says:

    The best solution to this is to punish Henry. Or video replay. 😀

  4. sublicon says:

    Ives, you missed the quote of the article…

    “Naturally they were unhappy with what happened and asked very humbly whether they could be team number 33,” said Blatter. “I will bring it to the attention of the executive committee but if we do that, we will also have to bring in Costa Rica.”

    Imagine that.

  5. Dominick says:

    Ives, point of clarification. In the article on the Union, how did the Tampa Bay Mutiny have off the field ‘success’? Good to see a guy with MLS experience with the Union, but I’m not sure how that line works in the article. Just a friendly critique, perhaps I am missing something beyond the macro issue of the team being contracted. Overall–things look positive for the Union, thanks for the insight!

  6. Upstate Jason says:

    It’s off-topic but Rochester Rhinos just quit USL-1 for NASL 2.0 leaving just 5 clubs in USL-1 (assuming NYC expansion is still on schedule).

  7. SayervilleFC says:

    Are the four Puerto Rico, Portland, Cleveland and NY?

  8. fischy says:

    I’m not sure how anyone could seriously write that the Mutiny or the NY/NJ were ever an off-the-field success. The Bulls did get Harrison to agree to the stadium, but that’s hardly surprising given the depressed state of the area. The Bulls may yet become an off-field success, but they’re not there yet. The best you might say about Nick’s tenure with NY/NJ is that the franchise didn’t fold like Tampa Bay Mutiny.

  9. FIFA and leagues should do more suspensions and fines of players after review of matches. Kinda like the NFL will fine or suspend players even if a flag was not thrown on the play in question during the game. FIFA and various leagues do it already, but just do it more and for “unsavory” activities. Suspend Henry for the first two World Cup matches … doesn’t help Ireland, but at least it makes it harder for France.

  10. OmarVizquel says:

    “There is a lack of discipline and respect in the game by the players because they are cheating by playing with the hand, pulling shirts and diving. We have to fight against that,” Blatter told the Guardian.

    Pff. Cheating has been going on in the game for as long as I’ve been watching. As if this is the first time Blatter’s ever seen some injustice in a big game.

    Please. This is all lip service. FIFA will continue NOT using 20th century technology to officiate 21st century games. He’s a dinosaur.

  11. JSmiley says:

    The Irish stay up late at night, thinking of new ways to make themselves seem more persecuted and victimized.

  12. CSD says:

    Ireland should be in the World Cup and they should win while playing on unicorns and a leprechaun should give them all gold medals. That is how it should be in the happy FIFA Fairy Tale or I’ll cry because the world shouldn’t have mean, mean people like Henry.

  13. Upstate Jason says:

    Those four plus Austin.

  14. CSD says:

    Oh yah and I forgot. We’ll all live happily ever after.

  15. Erik says:

    Ireland can’t be “humble” while asking for something so ridiculous. I think they got screwed just like most people, but let’s be realistic here.

    Henry should be punished, along with those that obviously dive and gain a significant advantage for their team, such as a penalty or a card for an opposing player. I’m opposed to in-game video replay, but I’m definitely for post-game video review of controversial events to “right the wrongs,” if you will.

  16. K Bone says:

    I mean, I know the goal shouldn’t have counted, but what makes Ireland think they would definitely have won the game if the right call was made? A little presumptious I’d say. It’s definitely starting to get beyond annoying and moving into pathetic…

  17. K Bone says:

    Oh yeah, I missed the part about City. So even if they get some big names, who are they willing to say goodbye once they come in? I guarantee Bellamy was pissed he didn’t start this weekend’s game because Robinho was back, and I can only imagine what Santa Cruz thinks…

  18. DC Josh says:

    The Irish are getting annoying. Stop please. Go away. You have a great team. We feel bad for you. But please shut up.

  19. DJ Barnett says:

    I know he left Europe several years ago and thus has aged since the last time I saw him but the one man I always thought should be staring for a top 4 club in the top 4 leagues is Juan Roman Riquelme. Man that guy had magic is his feet. I never saw him put a foot or pass wrong and always seemed like a true leader. ManCity should park the money truck outside his house and hope he answers the door!!!!

  20. Al17 says:

    So you punish Henry after the fact and even though he admitted it but no repercussions for the Referees? No replay? Makes no damn sense and time to move on.

    33rd team added? Hell no. Had the match finished 0-1 they would have had to go to PK’s.

  21. Wild Bill says:

    At first I thought Ireland can’t get in they didn’t earn their way in… they really didn’t win. Then I realized France didn’t either. I seem to recall a Premier League game replayed because there was injured player so the other team kicked the ball out of bounds, and instead of giving it back to them, the team with the injured player threw it in and scored. If that can be replayed surely France could do the honorable thing and give Ireland a rematch. That is the only possible and honorable solution. I think poorly of the french for not doing this. I think poorly of Fifa for not suggesting this, and if the U.S. prospered in like fashion and didn’t offer the fair solution I would think poorly of us. The sporting thing is to replay it. Had the shoe been on the other foot, or the hand on the other team, this game would be replayed. Have no doubt about that.

  22. John says:

    Add Ireland, punish Henry, oh yeah and strip Argentina of the ’86 Cup. C’mon people, GET A GRIP!

  23. golfstrom says:

    i can’t tell if this is a real comment or not

  24. mvk says:

    haha, good point

  25. Jose S. says:

    Ireland’s request hasn’t been turned down yet, it will be on Wednesday at the FIFA meeting.

    If it were up to me we would have play-in games between Ireland/France and Uruguay/Costa Rica in South Africa a week before the World Cup begins.

  26. roysterer says:

    The Referees made a mistake. Henry cheated. It’s like people don’t get carded for accidental handballs, but they do for intentional ones. Nobody’s perfect, but everyone can be honorable.

    And, in sports, which is fundamentally about sportsmanship, there ought to be harsh punishments for cheaters. They ruin it for everyone.

  27. roysterer says:

    Actually, you know what I’d do if I were in charge of the French Football Association. I’d withdraw from the World Cup. They can totally do that, and it would be great for the reputation of French soccer. Of course, I don’t think they care about the reputation of French soccer nearly as much as they care about the money they’re going to get from the World Cup.

  28. Robb says:

    Still amazed at the way the word cheater is thrown around. As a player you are trying to whatever it takes to win. If you purposely use your hand the refis suppose to stop the game and give you a yellow card and then the game goes on. If the ref doesnt see the handball you put the ball in the back of the net and the game goes on. The problem is not Henry or France it was the ref. He missed the call. He probably missed a lot of calls that game. He missed a potential PK when Given fould Anelka in the box. What else is considered cheating? Pushing off to win a header…is that cheating? Its a foul but is it cheating?????

  29. bob says:

    They should just pay for Irelands airfare, hotels and tickets to the games, let them have a hell of a month watching from the stands.

  30. Reid says:

    I would like to see that during the confed cup or world club cup that they make any person that requires medical attention sit on the sidelines for 5 min, just to make sure they are alright.

    That way it will stop the “cheaters” when they know their team will be down a man for 5 minutes, and it can be said that we are actually just looking out for the players, that they are cleared to go back on the field while not injured.

    Jay Heaps had said in an interview about 2-3 min, but i don’t think that will deter “cheaters”.

    I think it might also help out the culture of football, fans will turn on players if they are costing their teams instead of constantly trying to get breathers or waste time to win.

    my $.02

  31. Isaac says:

    Well said and I completely agree. I think the referee and Henry should be punished equally. Something fair like a large fine or Henry not being able to take part in a certain amount of group games. However, I think this has been completely blown out of proportion at this point. Ireland didn’t deserve to lose that way, but they can’t assume they deserved to win.

  32. Isaac says:

    Good suggestion. Might have been useful against teems like El Salvador or Costa Rica.

  33. Isaac says:


  34. Guus says:

    Man City should think about bringing in Guus Hiddink.

  35. Brian says:

    Oh and eff you Torsten Frings.

  36. K Bone says:

    Better yet, strip Argentina and give the World Cup title to England, because clearly they’d have won the whole thing had the Hand of God not counted…

  37. MikeK says:

    Ives- Ireland might not have won if the ref did his job, but he might have.

    They got robbed, and they are fully within their rights to keep making noise. I don’t know where the problem is.

    (SBI-Mike, I didn’t write this post nor did I (or anybody from SBI) say that Ireland didn’t have a right to make noise.)

  38. Martek says:

    This is both pathetic and high comedy all at once. Come on now Ireland, if MLS isn’t going to retroactively award the Galaxy the MLS Cup, then FIFA can’t create a magical 33rd team. (Though I’m sure the suits in New York right now are thinking, “Hey! Wait…..”)

  39. Tom says:

    How come no one talks about the lone group of 5 teams in UEFA qualifying? The one that had the Netherlands, Norway, and Scotland? Basically the 2nd place team in that group is screwed, because there is very little chance they’ll have enough points to be one of the 8 best when it’s all over. That seems like BS and if I was one of those countries, I’d be pretty pissed.

  40. Tom says:

    Our identity is based on oppression and mistreatment. Things had been going too well lately.

  41. Jose S. says:

    They had an equal chance as the rest of the second place teams.

    When comparing the second place teams the teams in the groups with the extra team have their results against the last place team removed from the equation.

    Thus each second place team is ranked based on the results of 8 games.

    The problem was Netherlands just destroyed everyone in their group.

  42. LD says:

    you would have to replay the US -MEXICO game first then. Or make Mexico the 9th team in the quarter finals

  43. ddub says:

    don’t see these guys trying to help chile. what a bunch of bias crap. it’s an henry witchhunt.

  44. Scott A says:

    Wah wah wah Ireland

  45. Brian says:

    huh? pretty sure a 2-0 win is a definitive victory

  46. Brian says:

    Seriously…the Sallies were little punks. It came back to bite them in the a$$ though courtesy of Jozy and Frankie

  47. Shmenge says:

    I saw both Uru-CR matches and I didn’t see anything remotely as controversial as the Henry handball.

    What are they talking about?

  48. Tom says:

    Thanks Jose – I did not know that. It makes sense and certainly explains why no one complains about it!

  49. JSmiley says:

    According to what I’ve read, a Uruguay player was clearly offsides on one of the goals.

    But this begs the question: Is every game, in which there was an officiating error that contributed to a goal, going to be replayed? If so there will be a lot of replays. And probably replays of the replays…

  50. John says:

    And the French were clearly offside before Henry’s goal, which should render the whole thing moot. The missed hand ball is much more egregious, but no one even mentions it.

  51. Jammer says:

    Why are players’ salaries listed in pounds per week? Does Torres’ 200k pound per week offer mean 10.4 million for the year? Or are there weeks in the off season he isn’t paid?

  52. roysterer says:

    You should play Football Manager. It really helps you understand how world football works. Like, for example, I know that weekly salaries are paid even when players are on holiday.

    (SBI-LOL. Thanks for that, I needed a good laugh today.)

  53. CrispyST3 says:

    Yah, why not? why can’t it be 34 teams?

    haha, obviously this is completely biased cuz i wanna see Costa Rica there and not Uruguay

  54. Neil - Beaverton says:

    The only punishment that would be “just” for Henry would be to make him play for the Irish team going forward!

    Ives – like to know how you feel Mr. Bladder? Hopefully you can infer my feeling on him.