Fifa: €5m payment to FAI was a loan towards stadium
Debt was subsequently written off at the end of 2014 ‘in view of the FAI’s financial situation’
Football Association of Ireland statement addressing the €5 million settlement agreement with Fifa to drop legal action over the Thierry Henry handball that kept the country out of the 2010 World Cup.
FAI chief executive John Delaney. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Fifa released a statement on Thursday night in a bid to clarify remarks made earlier in the day by FAI chief executive John Delaney over a €5 million payment they made to the association in January 2010.
Soccer’s world governing body confirmed they “entered into an agreement with FAI in order to put an end to any claims against Fifa” in relation to the World Cup play-off against France, where Thierry Henry’s handball set up William Gallas’s clinching goal in the second leg in Paris.
Delaney earlier went on RTÉ 1’s Ray D’Arcy Show to confirm a payment was made, although he said he was bound by a confidentiality clause and couldn’t disclose the amount.
Fifa later confirmed that amount to be €5 million, but the three paragraph statement describes the payment as having been a loan “for the construction of a stadium in Ireland” without identifying which stadium.
That loan was to be repaid if the Republic of Ireland qualified for the 2014 World Cup. The debt was subsequently written off at the end of last year “in view of the FAI’s financial situation”.
Fifa also mention that “Uefa also granted the FAI funds for the same stadium”. The Fifa statement reads: “On 18 November 2009, there was a play-off match between France and the Republic of Ireland for a place in the 2010 World Cup finals. During the match, a handball by France’s Thierry Henry led indirectly to a goal against the Irish team. Ireland did not qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals.
“While the Referee’s decision is final, and the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) 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. Fifa granted FAI a loan of USD 5 million (stet) for the construction of a stadium in Ireland. At the same time, Uefa also granted the FAI funds for the same stadium.
“The terms agreed between Fifa and the FAI were that the loan would be reimbursed if Ireland qualified for the 2014 Fifa World Cup. Ireland did not so qualify. Because of this, and in view of the FAI’s financial situation, Fifa decided to write off the loan as per 31 December 2014.”