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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, January 18, 2010

Soccer: FIFA says no way to punish Henry for hand ball

Associated Press

ZURICH Thierry Henry won't be punished for his hand ball before the goal that helped send France to the World Cup instead of Ireland.

FIFA said Monday that its disciplinary panel decided it had no legal right to consider the case under its rules. The governing body said a hand ball offense is not classified as "a serious infringement" necessary to prosecute Henry under the Disciplinary Code.

"There is no other legal text that would allow the committee to impose sanctions for any incidents missed by match officials," FIFA said in a statement.

Henry touched the ball with his left hand and arm before passing for William Gallas to score the decisive goal in a playoff in Paris last November. France drew the match 1-1 after extra time to beat Ireland 2-1 on aggregate.

The Football Association of Ireland asked FIFA and the French federation to replay the match, but FIFA said in November that the result must stand because decisions made by referees on the field could not be reviewed.

FIFA's ruling executive committee met in special session on Dec. 2 at Cape Town, South Africa, and ordered a case be opened against Henry. Had the disciplinary panel accepted the case, the veteran striker could have been banned from matches at the World Cup.