What is the FAI chief, John Delaney smoking?
Thirty three teams for the World Cup? The Republic of Ireland has requested Sepp Blatter for a spot in the World Cup after Thierry Henry's illegal hand decided France would go through.
This matter will be brought up for discussion in the executive committee meeting on Wednesday. Complicating the matter is Costa Rica's contention that Uruguay benefited from an offside goal which denied them a place in the World Cup. Blatter will have to accommodate them also, if Ireland is granted its wish.
Seems like this can open up a whole lot of aggravation on the part of other countries who will naturally complain that they missed out on a spot because of a refereeing error or a dive. FIFA already denied the FAI's request for a replay which would have been the fairest solution.
How will you accommodate an extra team? Thirty three is an imbalanced number. Will one group have five countries? Even if Costa Rica gets in then there will be two groups of five each. That itself will lead to protests because those countries will have to play an extra match which gives the other countries an unfair advantage.
It is strange given that a few days ago FIFA was cavalierly considering throwing Chile out of the World Cup on a flimsy pretext. That country had qualified fair and square but FIFA got huffy considering the national association's expulsion of a club amounted to interference in league competition. And now we have a situation where a country could get a chance at the World Cup on a hypothetical. Yeaay! Its leprechaun gold.
Blatter after being virtually tongue tied following Henry's blatant handball is giving this importance because it creates the impression that he cares deeply about Ireland's feelings and the fairness of the game. It will get shot down in the executive meeting but he gets to varnish his tough on crime credentials.
Most Irish fans had milked this of all melancholia by now but John Delaney seems keen on flogging a dead horse.