Sweden's 'Hand of Henry' ref Martin Hansson quits


Ireland players protest to referee Martin Hansson after he allowed a goal that resulted from a handball by Thierry Henry.

STOCKHOLM, July 4 (Reuters) -- The Swedish referee who missed a Thierry Henry handball before the goal against Ireland that sent France to the World Cup in 2010 is to quit his full-time post.

"There is no drama in it," Martin Hansson told the Kvallsposten newspaper. "I wanted a job with greater security, workmates and not to stand or fall because of football."

The 42-year-old has been a full-time referee since 2009 and said he would continue on a part-time basis.

Hansson faced severe criticism when he failed to see a handball by France's Henry in the lead-up to their extra-time equaliser against Ireland. The draw in the World Cup playoff second leg in Paris sent France to the finals in South Africa.

Hansson has officiated in Sweden's Allsvenskan since 2001 and became one of six full-time referees in 2009. A part-time firefighter even when refereeing, he now has a job with the emergency services.

"It will be like it was before we were employed full-time, when one had a normal job," Hansson told Kvallsposten.

© 2014 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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