FAI denies allegations Argentina friendly was linked to Fifa payoff

Argentinian newspaper also claims Irish players were paid not to injure Messi

Lionel Messi dribbles past Robbie Keane in the friendly between Ireland and Argentina at the Aviva Stadium in 2010. Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

Lionel Messi dribbles past Robbie Keane in the friendly between Ireland and Argentina at the Aviva Stadium in 2010. Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

 

The FAI has denied allegations made in Argentinian newspaper La Nacion that the friendly between Ireland and Argentina at Lansdowne Road in 2010 was in any way linked to Fifa’s efforts to appease the FAI after Thierry Henry’s handball in the World Cup playoffs.

The association has said that it is “consulting our legal advisers in relation to the article, and will be taking further steps.”

The friendly was announced by press release in May 2009, while the World Cup playoff match between Ireland and France didn’t take place until November.

The statement did not address further claims in the La Nacion article that the late, former president of Argentine Football Association, Julio Grondona said that he would pay $10,000 to the Irish players not to tackle Lionel Messi and ensure he didn’t get injured.

Grondona, who died last year, has recently been linked with authorising $10 million payments to disgraced Fifa officials Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer.

The match was the first to be played at the new Aviva Stadium and saw Argentina win 1-0 thanks to an Angel Di Maria goal.

The FAI’s statement reads in full: “The Football Association of Ireland completely refutes the allegations made about the Republic of Ireland v Argentina friendly match in La Nacion as baseless. 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.”

The above video shows all of Lionel Messi's highlights from the game. If you go to 3.18 you can see a particularly hefty tackle from Richard Dunne.

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