Thierry Henry said a World Cup qualifying replay between France and Ireland would be “the fairest solution” to the handball controversy after the match.
“I am not a cheat and never have been,” he said in a statement issued on his behalf on Friday. “It was an instinctive reaction to a ball that was coming extremely fast in a crowded penalty area.”
“I have never denied that the ball was controlled with my hand. I told the Irish players, the referee and the media this after the game. Naturally I feel embarrassed at the way that we won and feel extremely sorry for the Irish who definitely deserve to be in South Africa.
“Of course the fairest solution would be to replay the game, but it is not in my control. There is little more I can do apart from admit that the ball had contact with my hand leading up to our equalising goal and I feel very sorry for the Irish.”
Earlier on Friday, FIFA said it had rejected the Football Association of Ireland's appeal to replay the match.