Irish bookies refund bets over 'Hand of Frog' World Cup heartbreak

11/19/2009 12:27 PM

In Ireland they're calling it the "Hand of Frog." That'll be the handball from France's Thierry Henry which put Ireland out of the play-offs for the 2010 World Cup.

Every single player on the field - including Henry - could see it was a handball but incredibly the referee didn't.

Ireland's hopes were crushed and several million hearts were broken.

The misery is so complete in Ireland that two groups of bookies, not known as the most charitable of souls, are refunding any bets made on Ireland qualifying.

Paddy Power will refund about £200,000 in stakes while Graham Hill would only say they were talking about a five figure sum.

Paddy Power said they knew it was "small consolation" for the fans who had been cheated by Henry's "excellent basketball skills" but they wanted to be fair.

The chain is refunding £110,000 euros to all those who backed Ireland to qualify for next year's Finals as well as refunding £140,000 for bets on Ireland winning in 90 minutes.

Over at William Hill, spokesman Graham Sharpe said it was the right thing to do.

"Leaving aside any moral scruples and the fact that no-one knows what would have happened if the goal had been disallowed, William Hill feel that they are being as fair as possible to everyone by returning stake money to those who bet on the Irish going through," he said.

Nice to see that at least the bookies aren't trying to cheat the fans.

Unlike some French people we could mention.

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