Ireland Economy Will be Hurt by Thierry Henry Handball

Written by:
Alistair Prescott
Published on:

The London Sun on Friday reported on how Arsenal ace Thierry Henry's handball that helped France to advance into the 2010 World Cup against Ireland could harm the later country financially. 

Henry sort of apologized on his Twitter page Thursday.

"I'm not the referee - but if I hurt someone I'm sorry."

TheFrench FA are coming under increasing international pressure to back Ireland's plea for a replay of their controversial World Cup play-off.

FIFA have not ruled out ordering a replay of the Henry handball. 

Last night economists said reaching next summer's World Cup extravaganza in South Africa was worth £1BILLION to a nation the size of France.

But for a country like Ireland, which will not be heading to the World Cup, the loss could prove devastating.

From The Sun:

Financial analyst Owen James, of London's prestigious Centre For Economics And Business Research, said: "Based on figures on household expenditure and other factors I estimate the Irish economy will lose out to the tune of £100million.

"If they'd got beyond the group stage, the gain would be more."

Henk Potts, of Barclays Stockbrokers, said: "Retailers will lose out in terms of numbers of sales, and the leisure industry in terms of the numbers going to pubs and bars.

"Supermarkets would have expected an increase in certain products sold in preparation for matches and bookmakers would expect a lot more activity if Ireland were taking part."

Ruth Lea, former governor of the London School of Economics, said: "The French don't need this boost like the Irish do and they don't deserve it because they cheated.

"Psychologically and economically, qualifying would have been far more important to Ireland."

Several of Ireland's players, management and even Justice Minister Dermot Ahern called for the tie to be replayed after Henry's handball enabled William Gallas to score the goal that resulted in a France 2-1 win. 

FA of Ireland chief executive John Delaney said: "The French FA need to look at themselves. Thierry Henry is their captain, a wonderful footballer. Does he really want to be remembered like Maradona, where his legacy is a handball? It is up to the French FA. If they came out in the next 24 hours I think FIFA would go with that. That's why we've written to them as well.  They've got to step up to the plate. It was a travesty."

Meanwhile, online bookmaker has made France an 18/1 longshot to win the FIFA World Cup 2010.  Ireland, for now, is not listed. 

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Alistair Prescott,  

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