Referee Hanson insists 'life must go on'


Referee Martin Hansson broke his silence today by insisting “life must go on” after his blunder contributed to the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup exit on Wednesday.

The Swedish referee has since been widely condemned for his mistake in not spotting Thierry Henry’s blatant handball in the build-up to William Gallas’ equaliser on the night which enabled France to go through 2-1 on aggregate.

He told a Swedish radio station: “I cannot comment on the game itself but life must go on and I hope I will survive this too.

Reports have suggested Hansson will still make Fifa’s list for next summer’s World Cup finals in South Africa.

“Really? Has it been in the evening papers? Well, then it has to be true, hasn’t it?” he said with a hint of sarcasm.

Hansson has certainly not received any support in his homeland with leading newspaper Aftonbladet yesterday leading the chorus of disapproval.

Their story said: “There are millions of Irishmen around the world. We guarantee they all feel pretty bad today. But I sincerely hope there are three Swedes that feel even worse.

“They are Martin Hansson and (referee’s assistants) Stefan Wittberg and Fredrik Nilsson.”

They concluded by adding: “There will be no World Cup for Ireland and I assume that Team Hansson has also forfeited its right to continue to take charge of major international matches. Anything else would be a further insult to the Irish nation.”