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Finals spot for Swede

Henry handball ref Hansson selected for World Cup

February 6, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Swedish referee Martin Hansson, who missed France's controversial handball during the qualifying play-off against the Republic of Ireland, has been selected in the group of 30 elite referees who will be officiating at the World Cup in South Africa.

Martin Hansson
GettyImagesMartin Hansson: Missed Thierry Henry's infamous handball.

Hansson missed Thierry Henry's double handball in the build-up to France's equalising goal against the Irish which allowed France to qualify for South Africa 2-1 on aggregate.

The Swede was widely condemned for his failure to spot the infringement and the 38-year-old subsequently admitted his error and apologised for it.

However, Fredrik Nilsson, Hansson's assistant who missed both the handball and the offside that preceded it, will not be going to the finals.

According to the Irish Times, FIFA had decided on the 30-man shortlist based on the referees' long-term results and performances rather than on one-off games. But the same paper had suggested that Hansson had made a series of errors as well.

The 30 referees are made up of 10 from Europe, six from South America, four from the Asian, African and Concacaf confederations and two from New Zealand. Each official has his team of two assistants who have worked with him consistently over the last two years.