Delaney: FIFA paid FAI substantial amount after Henry handball

Thierry Henry’s handball in the 2010 Word Cup
John Delaney
John Delaney

John Delaney has confirmed that the FAI received a substantial payment, of approximately €5m, from FIFA following the controversial handball that kept Ireland out of the 2010 World Cup.

FIFA have also verified that Ireland received significant funding from both FIFA and UEFA, to help to build a stadium. FIFA gave this money to the FAI to prevent Ireland from pursuing any legal claims with FIFA after the 2010 World Cup.

Ireland were involved in a play-off with France in that World Cup when Thierry Henry clearly handled the ball, leading to a goal.

The goal stood and Ireland subsequently lost the match 2-1 on aggregate, costing them a place in South Africa.

FIFA have confirmed that in January 2010, they entered into an agreement with the FAI to put an end to any claims against FIFA.

FIFA granted the FAI a loan of USD $5m 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 qualify. Because of this, and in view of the FAI’s financial situation, FIFA decided to write off the loan as per December 31, 2014.

Thierry Henry's handball in the 2010 Word Cup
Thierry Henry’s handball in the 2010 Word Cup

“We felt we had a legal case against FIFA because of how the World Cup play-off hadn’t worked out for us with the Henry handball,” Delaney said.

“Also the way Blatter behaved, if you remember on stage, having a snigger and having a laugh at us. That day when I went in, and I told him how I felt about him, there were some expletives used. We came to an agreement.”

“That was a Thursday and on Monday the agreement was all signed and all done. It’s a very good agreement for the FAI and a very legitimate agreement for the FAI.”

The figure of €5m was put to him and Delaney did not deny that was the amount of the payment.

“I’m bound by confidentiality for naming the figure,” he explained.

“You’ve put a figure out there and fair play to you. It was a payment to the association to not proceed with a legal case. In there they signed a confidentiality agreement where I can’t talk about the amount involved.

“You used a figure there, well done to you, but it was a very good and legitimate deal for the FAI.”

Delaney has been vocal in his criticism of FIFA corruption in recent weeks and was among the first to call for Sepp Blatter’s resignation.

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