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11/20/09 – With the football world still in uproar over Ireland being ousted from the 2010 World Cup following a questionable French victory, UK bookies have done the right thing and refunded bets to punters.
Two bookmaking chains – William Hill and Paddy Power – are refunding bets backing Ireland to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa next year.
French ace Thierry Henry clearly handled the ball before playing it for William Gallas to score the equaliser which saw France win 2-1 on aggregate, igniting a furious reaction from football officials, players and fans alike.
William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said it would cost his company a "five figure sum" but 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.
This is not the first time that Will Hill has refunded football bets; in 1986 the gambling group ‘disallowed' Maradona's ‘Hand of God' goal for Argentina against England and refunded stakes.
Paddy Power is to refund more than GBP 200 000 in stakes on the Irish team, the company's blog announced.
"I know it's small consolation but we're refunding Euros 110 000 to all those who backed Ireland to qualify for next years Finals as well as refunding Euros 140 000 on the game," the blog advised.
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