Gillette reacts with Gallic shrug to calls for Thierry Henry boycott

LONDON - Calls to boycott Gillette, virals and diplomatic protests are all among the ramifications to come from French football player Thierry Henry's goal-producing assist in his country's World Cup qualifier against Ireland.

Henry has a large collection of outstanding goals, however posterity may well end up remembering his use of the left hand to control the ball before crossing to William Gallas who then scored the winning goal.

The game was poised at 1-1 (on aggregate), with a place in the World Cup finals and millions of euros in revenue at stake.

Although Henry, an ambassador both for Gillette and Unicef, has admitted his error the furore has grown from Irish supporters over the resulting French win.

One consequence was a campaign by Irish fans via social networking sites to call for a boycott of Gillette products.

Regardless of the financial ramifications of this, Gillette-owner Procter & Gamble was forced to deny Henry's actions would affect his £5m deal with the brand.

Irish fans who no longer want to watch football can entertain themselves with 'The Hand of Gaul', a viral launched in the aftermath of the game. The game invites players to play "keepy uppy" with Henry's hand.

Unsurprisingly politicians have also ensured themselves a place on the bandwagon. Irish prime minister Brian Cowen has reportedly raised the issue with his French opposite number Nicolas Sarkozy. Additionally Irish sports minister Martin Cullen has attempted to secure a replay via Fifa.

Henry's transgression has parallels with Diego Maradona's infamous "hand of God" goal against England in the quarter finals of the 1986 World Cup. Curiously this is more memorable than Maradona's second goal in the game, which was arguably the goal of the tournament.

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