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Keane not 'in the mood' to talk about Fifa but jokes about John Delaney being a distraction

‘Isn’t he always?’

Keane wasn't prepared to be drawn on the issue.
Keane wasn't prepared to be drawn on the issue.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

ROY KEANE INSISTS the ongoing Fifa corruption crisis and the FAI becoming engulfed in the storm isn’t a distraction for the Ireland squad as they prepare for their end-of-season fixtures.

It was revealed on Thursday that the FAI were paid €5 million by football’s governing body in January 2010 to prevent the association taking any legal action following the infamous Thierry Henry handball incident.

Fifa have since insisted the payment was a ‘loan’ and was to be paid off if Ireland qualified for the 2014 World Cup. As it happened, the Boys in Green failed to secure a place in South Africa and the loan was written off.

It has attracted attention from the global press with some quarters calling for an investigation into the payment.

Speaking in Malahide this morning, Keane refused to be drawn on the controversy and although he joked about the FAI’s chief executive, John Delaney, making further headlines, maintained it was not something he needed to comment about.

“No, do you know what, not today,” Keane said when asked about Fifa. “I’m not in the mood for all that stuff today. If you want to ask me about the games coming up or the players then no problem but I’m not going into the Fifa stuff.

“I’m here to work with the players and focus on the games. I’m the assistant manager and I’m here to work with the players and get ready for Sunday.

“We’ve had a few nice days already and it’s crunch time for us and that’s the focus for me.”

When asked about Delaney and whether the off-field issues are unsettling the squad as the preparations intensify ahead of the make-or-break Euro 2016 Qualifier against Scotland, Keane replied ‘isn’t he always [a distraction]?’.

Roy Keane Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“This is the last time I’m going to say it, if you want to talk about the games coming up no problem but if you don’t want to talk about other things then I’ll leave you to it,” the Ireland assistant manager added.

Former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner has been at the centre of the shocking revelations over the past seven days and during his time in the job, Keane brandished him a ‘clown’.

Inevitably, his name was mentioned this morning but again Keane wasn’t interested in making conversation by replying: “I’ve had issues with everybody.”

Following Ireland’s behind closed doors game with Northern Ireland yesterday, the squad’s training was cancelled on Friday morning as they instead underwent a recovery session.

With the England game now the centre of attention, Keane stressed that the off-field issues and the current crisis rocking football is nothing the players are worried or talking about.

“We haven’t even discussed it, there’s been one or two chats with the staff but when we’re with the players, it doesn’t come into it.

“The players don’t have any control of what happens and they’ve more important things to be worried about. We have three games in nine days so that takes care of itself.

“If I was a player at the moment, it wouldn’t concern much too much. You have to get your priorities right and that’s getting focused for a big game of international football where there’s a lot at stake for everybody.”

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Ryan Bailey

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