'Hand of Wad': The International media reaction to our 'loan' from FIFA

John Delaney insists it “was a very good and legitimate deal for the FAI”.

FOR THE SECOND time in a number of weeks Ireland has made it onto the front pages of the world’s major media outlets.

But, unlike the positive attention we received for the marriage referendum, this time our country’s name appears alongside words like “bribe”, “bung” and “corruption”.

In yet another day of FIFA revelations, FAI chief executive John Delaney revealed during an interview with RTÉ Radio yesterday that the organisation had received payment related to the handball by Thierry Henry, which cost Ireland a place in the 2010 World Cup. This admission came just days after FIFA president Sepp Blatter was forced to resign amid a corruption scandal.

His comments have sparked a debate, not just within this country but internationally.

Writing for The TelegraphHenry Winter criticised the FAI for it’s willingness to accept cash in return for it’s silence.

The FAI should not have bowed so meekly towards Sepp Blatter and Fifa, even if Delaney argued it was an ‘an agreement not to proceed with a legal case’. It was actually an agreement to let down players like Dunne and those supporters standing in disbelief outside Stade de France. It was done quickly, surreptitiously.

While a lot of the press coverage focuses on Blatter and FIFA, Winter highlighted how he felt Delaney had let down the Irish fans and players.

Delaney and the FAI should have been above that. They should not have been stooping to Fifa’s debased standards that money is the answer to everything. England’s fans have just acquired some new song-writing material as they head to Dublin this weekend. The FAI was bought off by Blatter.”

In a desperate attempt to let everyone know we were on the right side of the argument, Delaney has inadvertently made Ireland the news — as the first European country to be embroiled in something that doesn’t seem to be above board.

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Screen-Shot-2015-06-05-at-07.57.33 Source: Marca

Screen-Shot-2015-06-05-at-08.04.08 Source: The New York Times

Northern Ireland’s Jim Boyce, who retired as a Fifa vice-president last week, called for an investigation, saying:

I’m absolutely astounded. I have never heard anything as ridiculous in my life.

If a payment of $5m has been paid because of a handball and threatened legal action, then I hope a full investigation will be carried out into this and any other such arbitrary payments.”

Liam Brady: None of the players or staff knew about FIFA payment to FAI

Call for probe into Fifa’s ‘completely arbitrary’ payment to FAI after Henry handball

About the author:

Donal Lucey

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