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FAI consider legal action after claims Ireland players were paid $10k each to go easy on Messi

Newspaper La Nacion alleges that the former president of the Argentine Football Association sanctioned the payments for the 2010 friendly in Dublin.

Ireland Argentina Soccer Messi and Kevin Kilbane during the game in question. Source: AP/Press Association Images

AFTER THE RECENT controversy surrounding Fifa’s payment to the FAI in 2010, there have been fresh claims made regarding Ireland’s senior team today.

In August 2010, nine months after the infamous Thierry Henry handball, Ireland played Argentina in Dublin. It would mark the first international football match to be played at the new Aviva Stadium.

The South Americans, under new manager Sergio Batista after Diego Maradona’s ill-fated spell at the helm, named star player Lionel Messi in their squad but his club Barcelona were reportedly unhappy as they were in the middle of a pre-season tour in China at the same time.

And, according to an article published by Argentine newspaper La Nacion, the late, former president of Argentine Football Association, Julio Grondona said he agreed to pay $10,000 each to ‘the Ireland players’ to stop them tackling Messi during the game and prevent him from getting injured.

However, the FAI has released a statement denying the claims and revealing that it is considering legal action.

“The Football Association of Ireland completely refutes the allegations made about the Republic of Ireland v Argentina friendly match in La Nacion as baseless,” it reads.

The match in question was organised by Kentaro and announced by press release prior to the World Cup play offs in 2009. We are consulting our legal advisers in relation to the article, and will be taking further steps.”

A fairly uneventful game, it ended 1-0 to the visitors thanks to an Angel Di Maria goal in the first half, while Robbie Keane also won his 100th cap on the night.

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Grondona, who died last year, was recently blamed for authorising a $10 million payment to disgraced Fifa officials Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer.

We’ve watched back highlights of the game and Richard Dunne definitely put in a couple of full-blooded challenges on Messi.

Source: FRMessi/YouTube

h/t: Peter Staunton

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Ben Blake

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