John Delaney was speaking on the Ray D'Arcy show. James Crombie/INPHO

'Fifa paid Ireland to stop legal case over Henry handball' - John Delaney

The FAI chief executive made the claim today.

FAI CHIEF EXECUTIVE John Delaney has confirmed that Fifa paid his organisation so they would not proceed with a legal case following Thierry Henry’s handball for France in November 2009.

Ireland were infamously denied a place at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa when Swedish referee Martin Hansson failed to spot Henry handling the ball in the run-up to William Gallas’ goal in the playoff second leg game at the Stade de France.

And responding to a question from the host of the Ray D’Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio One this afternoon in relation to €5 million the FAI received from Fifa after the incident, Delaney said:

“We felt we had a legal case against FIFA because of how the World Cup [playoff] hadn’t worked out for us with the Henry handball.

“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.

“I’m bound by confidentiality from naming 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 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.”

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