How world media covered Thierry Henry handball payment
Focus on Ireland in light of revelations of €5m payment to FAI over World Cup qualifier
The Daily Star and Sun both run with “The Hand of Wad”
The Daily Express
Recent developments about a €5 million payment made by Fifa to the FAI in light of Thierry Henry’s handball in 2009 have this morning caught the attention of newspapers and news sites around the world.
“Thierry Henry’s handball was shameful - but FAI’s crime was a betrayal”
He says: “For those Irish supporters in Paris, that hush money must feel like blood money. For observers of Fifa’s notorious approach to smoothing out wrinkles in its precious tournaments this was another dispiriting case of money first, morals second, honest players and real supporters joint-third.”
The Star, Sun and Daily Express
Both the Daily Star and the Sun elected for the “Hand of Wad” pun, while the Daily Express went with “Ireland’s Henry Handout.”
The homepage of the Times and the front page of the print edition both lead with the story, carrying the same headline: “Secret Fifa payment to keep cheated Ireland quiet.” The report refers to the “hush money” that was “designed to stop Ireland suing over the unfair result.”
The Guardian is following all Fifa developments closely and running a live blog on updates, which is now focussing on the FAI payment and leading with the headline: “Fifa corruption crisis: pressure mounts on FAI over ¤5m payment - live.”
The Daily Mail
Online, the Daily Mail homepage story leads with: “Ireland football boss admits Fifa secretly paid association five million euro NOT to take legal action after Thierry Henry handball kept them out of World Cup.
“Corrupt FIFA paid $5million to buy Ireland’s silence after Thierry Henry’s infamous handball cost the Republic a place at the 2010 World Cup finals.”
In the print edition, the well-known image of Thierry Henry’s outstretched hand accompanied the headline “Fifa paid $5m hush money to Ireland for Henry handball”.
In France’s le Monde, the main report is currently the most read article on the site’s international news section.
“La FIFA a fait cadeau de 5 millions de dollars à l’Irlande après la main d’Henry” (FIFA has made a gift of $ 5 million to Ireland after Henry ‘s hand).
It also leads the site’s dedicated Fifa corruption coverage page.
The Independent has a straight report featuring on the site’s homepage: “Fifa paid FA of Ireland ‘€5m’ to not pursue legal action over Thierry Henry handball in World Cup qualifier”.
The New York Times
In the US, the Fifa scandal has been followed closely by the press. The New York Times main report was headlined:
“FIFA Paid Ireland Not to Protest Costly Hand Ball”.
It read:“The chief executive of Ireland’s soccer association said Thursday that Fifa had quietly paid compensation to his federation after a controversial hand ball by France’s Thierry Henry prevented Ireland from qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.”