FAI boss John Delaney insists Fifa payment was ‘legitimate’

FAI threatened to take legal action over Thierry Henry handball incident in World Cup play-off

FAI chief executive John Delaney has insisted that a payment, believed to be €5 million, received by the association from Fifa resulting from the a fall-out from the Thierry Henry handball incident in a World Cup play-off "was a very good and legitimate deal for the FAI".

Speaking on the Ray D'Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio 1 on Thursday afternoon, Delaney explained how the payment came about after a meeting with Fifa president Sepp Blatter, although he did not confirm the amount citing a confidentiality clause put in to the agreement by Fifa.

Delaney said: “We felt we had a legal case against Fifa because of how the World Cup play-off 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 for naming the figure.

“You’ve put a figure out there (D’Arcy mentioned the figure of €5 million) and fair play to you. It was a payment to the association not to proceed with a legal case. And 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.”

Delaney also recalled a heated meeting with Blatter in the aftermath of the play-off second leg match in Paris back.

“In 2009 I called him an embarrassment to Fifa and an embarrassment to himself and he called me over about that and I said it to him across the table just like I’m talking to you, with one or two expletives. He said: ‘No-one speaks to me like that’. And I said: ‘Well I do’. And that was it.

“He knew how I felt about him, I never liked his modus operandi, his style. I don’t want to get too personal about him but he has a huge ego and I never felt he loved the game. It was all politics and how money can be dispersed and all about him.”

Meanwhile, the behind closed doors friendly between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland ended in a scoreless draw at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday afternoon.

“It wasn’t the best game of football,” added Delaney

Emmet Riordan

Emmet Riordan

Emmet Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist