In the wake of Ireland's controversial loss to France, FIFA boss Sepp Blatter has announced that 273,000 contentious matches played throughout football's 122-year competitive history will be replayed on the weekend of the 5th and 6th December.
In a directive to all associate members, Blatter outlined a comprehensive plan to clean up football. "FIFA is committed to fairplay," said Blatter, "and what better way to show it then to restage those games decided by cheating and deception? And let's be fair, we're not short of those, are we?"
Reaction has been swift, Sir Alex Ferguson branding UEFA's plan to schedule 27 matches across 48 hours for the Premier League champions "barmy". "It gives me so little time to prepare my team," Ferguson bemoaned. "And especially with a Champions League tie midweek and Rio (Ferdinand) nursing an injury."
Fellow managers have voiced similar concerns. Arsene Wenger has voiced his displeasure at having to move training grounds to allow for the 1978 Arsenal side to prepare for their tie at Blackburn, while Rafa Benitez has remained surprisingly quiet on the issue. Many close to the team’s training ground say he is ecstatic at the prospect of his Castilla CF meeting “the dirty, dirty dogs” of CD Ourense in a rematch from 1976.
Details are still to be ironed out, but Michel Platini has yet to be drawn on whether Football Alliance ties between 1889 and 1892 will be included in the plan. Descendants of the Newton Heath team that lost out to Long Eaton Rangers on a contentious penalty, argue that the referee was eventually revealed as a physio at Small Heath and minor stakeholder in Bootle.
Teams managed by Neil Warnock have inevitably been excluded from the initiative. The hundreds of grievances presented by Warnock were considered by the FA to merit their own weekend; already being dubbed Warnock’s Whopping Weekend, it will feature a truncated version of the 2006-7 season played out entirely within the mind of Paddy Kenny with many expecting much the same outcome.
Proceedings have already begun to exhume the bodies of both starting XIs from the 1921 FA Cup Final. Val Gregory put in a certain dive to win the game-winning free kick and in his current state of decomposition many are wondering how he will remain on his feet this time. Pundit Mark Lawrenson has already put this one down as a lacklustre scoreless draw.
At the time of press, the FA were deep in negotiations to have the 1986 Quarter Final dismissed in return for German acceptance that the ball definitely crossed the line in 1966.