FIFA seedings pressurised ref - Brady

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Republic of Ireland assistant manager Liam Brady claims referee Martin Hansson "succumbed under pressure" in awarding France their controversial winning goal in Wednesday night's World Cup play-off in Paris.

Thierry Henry handled the ball before squaring it to William Gallas to head home in extra-time for a 2-1 aggregate success and despite the protests of the Irish players - and Henry's own admission that the ball struck his hand - the goal was allowed to stand.

The former Arsenal midfielder told BBC Radio Five Live: "I wouldn't blame Thierry Henry for what went on. I would maybe look at what happened three months before and the fact that these seedings for the play-offs were made to favour the bigger teams. I would ask why that went on."

Brady claimed FIFA's decision to seed the play-off draw by world ranking showed an obvious desire from football's world governing body to ensure the big names qualified, and that Swedish official Hansson felt under pressure to make that happen.

"The pressure on referees is enormous then," he added. "The pressure is too much to bear and I thought the referee up until then had refereed the match in fine fashion, but he succumbed under pressure."

Brady added: "I asked Thierry Henry after the game and he said 'I handled it but I didn't mean it.' When you look at the film I think he kept the ball in play and he meant it. I wouldn't go down the road of (calling it) cheating, the players seek every advantage they can.

"But I would ask FIFA, 'Do we want to play the match again?' We would go to Paris and play again. I don't think it would come to that but we would be willing to go to Paris, on their home ground, and have a fair winner."

Republic skipper Robbie Keane claimed FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini would be "delighted" with the outcome last night.

"They're all probably clapping hands, Platini sitting up there on the phone to Sepp Blatter, probably texting each other, delighted with the result," the Tottenham forward said.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Tottenham Hotspur
Robbie Keane
Premier League
William Gallas
Thierry Henry

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