The Hand of Frog: The infamous handball which put Ireland out of the World Cup

Swedish referee Martin Hansson has said that he almost quit after allowing the Thierry Henry hand ball that led to the goal that defeated Ireland in the World Cup playoff.

Hannson was speaking after Henry also revealed that he almost ended his international career after the incident.

But Hannson says he decided to stay after a graphic of the incident showed there was no way he or his assistant could have spotted the hand ball because their line of sight was blocked

Hansson said: “The graphic has given the whole (refereeing ) team a remedy as it clears the whole refereeing team in this incident.”

Hansson considered resigning after he returned to Sweden.

He said: “I asked myself if this job is worth all the humiliation I had to face. Thoughts like, ‘Is this really what I want?’ also came up in my head.”

“I now realise after all the support I’ve got, that it wasn’t my fault. It was an unlucky situation with big consequences for Ireland. But it wasn’t our referee team’s fault.”

Back in Swedent he was buoyed by the support he and his officials received. “We were offered support,” he said. “We talked a lot, which felt good. The group got to know what had happened.”

Hansson said that he was angry that a journalist visited his elderly parents. “I don’t see the point in visiting my parents, 73 and 75 years old,” he said. “They haven’t refereed any game, have they?”