THE SWEDISH referee who ended Ireland’s World Cup hopes has revealed how he thought the handball controversy surrounding France’s play off equaliser in Paris involved goalscorer William Gallas – and not Thierry Henry.
Martin Hansson (pictured) is still troubled by the gaffe that became global news, but according to RTÉ football commentator George Hamilton, the official never suspected Henry of cheating in the build-up to the infamous Stade de France equaliser. Hamilton told viewers last night he had met Hansson on a flight to last night’s Porto-Arsenal Champions League game, which the Swede handled, and had been told that the referee suspected Gallas had bundled the ball over the line with his hand. Hansson reportedly asked Gallas ‘did you handle the ball’ and when told no, waved away Irish protests.
The official was condemned in Sweden for what was his third high-profile mistake in the past 12 months, but will now go to the World Cup as one of FIFA’s elite officials.
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