Irish FA Accepted €5m In FIFA Hush Money To Keep Schtum About Thierry Henry’s Handball

Chris Wright

4th, June 2015


By Chris Wright

It’s being reported this evening that Irish FA (FAI) chief executive John Delaney has confirmed his organisation accepted a payment from FIFA – widely being touted as €5 million – in the wake of Thierry Henry’s infamous handball during the closing moments of 2009’s World Cup play-off between France and the Republic of Ireland.

With the second-leg tie well into extra-time and the aggregate scores locked at 1-1, Henry used his hand not once but twice to keep the ball in play and then set William Gallas up to score the winning goal. France duly went through and Ireland failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup as a result, costing the Irish economy an estimated £100million.

The Irish then protested against the “cheating French bastards” by urinating on baguettes in supermarkets. True story.

While not confirming or denying the amount of cash involved, Delaney revealed in an interview with RTE Radio 1 today that the FAI received a payment from FIFA in return for not taking the matter to court.

Asked directly by presenter Ray D-arcy if the payment was indeed €5million, Delaney refused to deny the figure.

“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 put in a confidentiality agreement where I can’t talk about the amount involved,” he said.

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

Ireland subsequently appealed to be made the “33rd team” at the World Cup in South Africa – an idea that was quickly shot down by FIFA.

Hmmm. Can’t help but feel this might spark a dangerous precedent. Sure, it was an incredibly poor refereeing decision in a big match with a lot at stake but that’s just how football goes sometimes.

You may be sore, but the circus rolls on. Human error is all part of the dance. Surely there shouldn’t be grounds for legal reimbursement?

It’s not like Ireland were guaranteed the win, after all. In fact, the best they could’ve probably hoped for was penalties.

Oh well, who knows? Maybe FIFA have been slinging €5million cheques around willy-nilly for years to keep people schtum about their mistakes.

It certainly wouldn’t surprise us.

Posted in International football, Newsnow, World Cup

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  1. EDub says:

    Wow … next time I hear some sorry Ireland fan crying on about how they would have won the WC if not for Henry, I’ll refer them to this tidbit.

    Integrity much, FAI?

  2. ES says:

    Think you’re missing a crucial component; UEFA at the very last minute changed the rules in favour of those countries who at that time were ranked higher in the FIFA rankings.

    That being said the bigger issue is the fact that John Delaney accepted a bribe and that must now mean his position is untenable.

  3. blarty says:

    Isn’t that the World Cup where the French team imploded and went on strike during it? I think France would have traded with us if they had seen that coming!

  4. Mick Paddington says:

    You can bet that five mil has been spent on Guinness and pissed up the wall. (or donated to a Catholic paedophile).

  5. Maria says:

    @2 – yes. The whole thing stank. Uefa (actually Platini) couldn’t bear the thought that France might miss out on the WC, which could happen if Portugal were drawn against France. They changed the rules to seed the teams just before the playoff draw.

    It was rigged to get France to the WC. That they imploded so spectacularly was japes.

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