News 5th June 2015

FIFA Daily Update: FIFA paid FAI €5m to stop legal action over Henry handball

FIFA paid the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) €5 million to drop a legal action over a deliberate handball (pictured) by Thierry Henry, which prevented Ireland from reaching the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals. The money was used to finance the Aviva stadium, which is 50/50 owned by the FAI and the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and replaces Landsdowne Road, which was owned solely by the IRFU. Ireland failed to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup after being beaten 2-1 after extra time by France – Henry’s handball led to the winning goal.

‘The Association can now confirm that a legal settlement agreement was reached with FIFA following the threat of a legal case by the Association against the world governing body in 2010’, read an FAI statement. ‘The settlement was reached following strong legal advice given to the Association regarding the case against FIFA, and was a legitimate payment that enabled the Association to put €5 million into the Aviva stadium project […] The Association accepted FIFA’s settlement offer to avoid a long, costly and protracted legal case. The offer given to the Association was fully written off by FIFA in 2014.’

Henry’s handball was especially controversial because FIFA adjusted its system for seeding the countries taking part in the qualifying stages. In contrast to previous World Cups, seeding was based solely on the October 2009 FIFA World Rankings, which critics argued was unfair. “With the draw, FIFA wanted France and Portugal to go through, and that’s what happened”, Ireland’s Assistant Manager at the time, Laim Brady, told The Guardian.

Other FIFA News today…

• The International police organisation Interpol has issued ‘red letters’, or international arrest warrants, in connection to two former FIFA officials and four corporate executives named in the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) investigation.

• Former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner has said that he will reveal a cache of documents relating to corruption at FIFA, despite “fears for his life”. You can view the address, labelled ‘The Gloves Are Off’, on his TV channel here.

• The LA Times has published a 2013 transcript of Charles ‘Chuck’ Blazer’s guilty plea to charges of corruption. Blazer, former President of the Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) admits in the transcript that he and other FIFA Executive Committee members agreed to accept bribes in connection with the appointment of South Africa as host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

• FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has said that he is ‘working hard’ on reforming FIFA in a post on Twitter. “I had a good, constructive meeting with Mr. Scala to establish a framework for action and a timetable”, said Blatter in an official FIFA release. “I am pleased to take advice and guidance from Mr. Scala. I want a comprehensive programme of reform and I am very aware that only the FIFA Congress can pass these reforms. Furthermore, the Executive Committee has a particular duty to share the responsibility of driving this process.”

ABC News is reporting that ‘sources’ have revealed that FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter is under direct investigation by US authorities.

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