Ireland was paid after playoff defeat in 2010
FIFA admits giving $5 million in compensation to country for missing World Cup, in part to avoid legal action.
In the midst of an escalating financial scandal, FIFA admitted Thursday to giving Ireland $5 million in compensation for missing a place at the 2010 World Cup after Thierry Henry’s handball set up France’s winning goal in a playoff game.
FIFA disclosed the payment after the money was mentioned in a radio interview by Football Association of Ireland Chief Executive John Delaney. Neither FIFA nor the FAI had previously disclosed the agreement to stave off legal action following the contentious elimination game.
The revelation was made two days after FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced under pressure that he will resign, likely by March. Blatter was reelected to a fifth term last Friday despite criminal investigations into FIFA that included U.S. charges against executive committee members. The transaction highlights a lack of transparency that plunged FIFA into the biggest scandal of its 111year history.
“While the referee’s decision is final, and the Football Association of Ireland ultimately accepted it as such, in January 2010, FIFA entered into an agreement with FAI in order to put an end to any claims against FIFA,” said a statement from FIFA.
Blatter said on Thursday he has already started working on ways to clean up the sport’s governing body.
“Working hard on reforms after meeting Audit & Compliance Committee Independent Chairman Scala,” Blatter tweeted.
In a courtroom development, the New York Times asked a U.S. federal judge to make public the government’s plea agreement with former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer.
The plea agreement was referenced in a 40-page transcript of Blazer’s November 2013 plea hearing, which was unsealed Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie ordered the government to respond by Tuesday.