FIFA's statement said that there "is no other legal text that would allow the
committee to impose sanctions for any incidents missed by match officials."
Ireland was leading, 1-0, in the second leg of the playoff in November when Henry handled the ball to control it and set up William Gallas for the equalizing goal in overtime that gave France a 2-1 aggregate win. The transgression escaped the officiating crew but was captured clearly by television cameras.
"I don't want players to get banned, but [the decision] promotes 'if you can get away with it, do it,'" Irish defender Sean St Ledger, who played in the game at the Stade de France, told The Times. "I've seen [the incident] again today and I still think he intentionally, the second time, handballed it. I still feel a bit hurt from it."
The Irish soccer federation had demanded a replay or to go to the World Cup as a 33rd team. Both proposals were rejected, although FIFA President Sepp Blatter called the incident "blatant unfair play."