Afternoon Ticker: Ireland ask to be 33rd World Cup team, Henry may be punished and more

Afternoon Ticker: Ireland ask to be 33rd World Cup team, Henry may be punished and more

European Soccer

Afternoon Ticker: Ireland ask to be 33rd World Cup team, Henry may be punished and more

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The story of Thierry Henry's handball just won't go away. Almost two weeks have elapsed since Ireland was knocked out, and the Football Association of Ireland refuses to leave without a final word. The FAI asked FIFA last week about being the 33rd nation in the World Cup next year, as a result of the unfair loss against France on November 18.

While the referee missed Henry's blatant handball, asking for an extra spot in the Cup is a bit of a stretch. There's certainly no way of knowing if Ireland would have gone on to win the game, presuming another goal wasn't scored and the game was decided by penalties.

The aftermath of Henry's actions won't go away, but the FAI can take a better approach to this — by pushing for FIFA to include extra referees or perhaps the use of video replay in future matches. To no surprise, FIFA turned down the request.

Here are some other stories for Monday afternoon:

Henry may receive punishment for handball

The never-ending story continues, with Sepp Blatter indicating that the French striker may receive punishment for his actions as part of a quest to reduce the amount of cheating prior to the World Cup.

"There is a lack of discipline and respect in the game by the players because they are cheating by playing with the hand, pulling shirts and diving. We have to fight against that," Blatter told the Guardian.

Punishment or not, simple rule changes won't easily eliminate some of the incessant problems soccer faces at both an international and club level. Blatter also referenced the possibility of removing the two-legged playoff system to determine final qualifications for the World Cup.

Premier League teams dole out £70.6 million in agent fees

It was a first in England this week as the amount paid to agents was revealed. The sum paid by Premier League clubs was a staggering £70.6 million, led by free-spending Manchester City and Chelsea, from October 2008 to September 2009..

The Citizens led all Premier League teams with a tidy £12.6 million paid out in the acquisitions of players like Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez and Joleon Lescott. Right behind them was Chelsea at £9.5 million, followed by Liverpool and Tottenham with £6.7 million and £6.1 million respectively.

At the bottom of the heap was Burnley, in the midst of their first season in the Premier League, at just £486,000.

Stars set to snub City

In the midst of a middling Premier League season campaign, reinforcements might not be arriving for the world's richest club. Manchester City just suffered a seventh consecutive draw, and despite deep pockets may not be to bring in a massive signing because the club isn't taken seriously by the best players.

While City may not have a clear target, with the Champions League looking like a real long shot at this point, a £50 million offer for Fernando Torres was reportedly rejected over the summer. A move for a veteran star from the continent may be the best and most available option for the club watching Champions League aspirations fall by the wayside.
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What do you think of Ireland asking to be included at the World Cup? Is it fair for Henry to be punished for his handball? Do agents get paid too much in the EPL? When will City get their next big name?

Share your thoughts below.

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