Football

FIFA paid Ireland's FA $6.7 million to stop legal action

The fall-out continues as corruption allegations swirl around Fifa.

Now the latest group to be dragged into the mess is Ireland's Football Association (FAI).

Fifa reportedly paid FAI US$5 million (S$ 6.7 million) to avoid a legal case after Ireland's controversial World Cup playoff defeat to France in 2009.

Ireland were knocked out by France in a two-leg qualifier for the 2010 South Africa tournament, with the decisive goal in the second leg coming after French striker Thierry Henry's handball in extra time.

 

 

With moral outrage over the goal growing (in Ireland and beyond), Fifa said on Thursday (June 4) that they came to a financial agreement with the FAI not to proceed with legal action.

FIFA said that it gave the FAI a loan that would have been paid back had Ireland qualified for the 2014 World Cup.

“In January 2010, FIFA entered into an agreement with FAI in order to put an end to any claims against FIFA.

"FIFA granted FAI a loan of $5 million for the construction of a stadium in Ireland. At the same time, UEFA also granted the FAI funds for the same stadium.

"The terms agreed between FIFA and the FAI were that the loan would be reimbursed if Ireland qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

"Ireland did not so qualify. Because of this, and in view of the FAI’s financial situation, FIFA decided to write off the loan as per Dec 31, 2014." - Fifa's statement

FAI chief executive John Delaney criticised Blatter at that time for his handling of the incident and accused the Swiss of being “disrespectful”.

Speaking to Irish state broadcaster RTE on Thursday, Delaney said: “It was a payment to the association... not to proceed with a legal case.

“We felt we had a legal case against FIFA because of how the World Cup hadn’t worked out (due to) the Thierry Henry handball, also the way (Sepp) Blatter behaved - if you remember - on stage, having a snigger, having a laugh at us.

“So that day when I went in and told him how I felt about him... there were some expletives used, we came to an agreement... It was a very good agreement for the FAI, a very legitimate agreement for the FAI.”

This of course comes on the heels of a tumultuous week for Fifa: Sepp Blatter resigned as president of Fifa just a few days after his election amidst a storm over corruption allegations that saw top Fifa officials being arrested.

Sources: Reuter, Vine

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