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Fresh rows erupt over botched friendly

DAMIEN DUFF is still an Irish cap centurion despite FIFA's decision not to award the Hungary v Republic of Ireland friendly in June full international status.

But a bigger issue is now occupying the minds of the FAI after it was revealed that the 150 ranking points available for drawing with Hungary in Budapest could lift Ireland into the world’s top 20, with obvious positive consequences when it comes to competition seeding.

Duff will be awarded a cap by the FAI for the game as will anyone else on Giovanni Trapattoni's team that night. The FAI are fully entitled to award international caps as they see fit and have cited previous examples of games against German and Italian ‘B' teams where they did just that.

The mix-up occurred when Danish assistant referee David Vang Andersen, not on FIFA's panel, officiated at Ireland's final Euro 2012 warm-up in Budapest.

As a result, FIFA could not award full international status, which in turn denied the FAI the 150-plus points which would have been added to the ranking total.

“As an away match, the Hungarian FA was responsible for all aspects of the fixture,” said an FAI spokesman.

Discussions

“The Hungarian FA have said that they were unaware of the matter but have been in contact with FIFA.

“They said that they intend to continue their discussions with FIFA in order to have the fixture recognised for international ranking purposes.

“The decision to award a cap is at the discretion of the national association and they do not keep a central record of caps.

“The FAI has decided that the players who participated in the Hungary fixture deserve caps, particularly Damien Duff for the service that he gave to his country.

“Consequently, the association has informed Damien that it will recognise his status as having earned 100 caps for Ireland.”