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FIFA paid Ireland 5m euros, not dollars, after Henry handball!

Last updated on: June 05, 2015 20:25 IST

  A video grab of the handball goal scored by France's Thierry Henry in their 2010 World Cup qualifier against Ireland

A video grab of the handball goal scored by France's Thierry Henry in their 2010 World Cup qualifier against Ireland.

FIFA paid Ireland's FA (FAI) 5 million euros to avoid a legal case over a controversial World Cup playoff defeat, 50 percent more than the $5 million it reported on Thursday at 2009 exchange rates, world soccer's governing body said.

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Ireland were knocked out by France in a two-legged playoff to qualify for the 2010 South Africa tournament, with the decisive goal in the second leg coming after a handball by French striker Thierry Henry in extra time.

With moral outrage over the goal in Ireland, FIFA came to a financial agreement with the FAI not to proceed with legal action to overturn the result.

The head of the Irish FA told state radio RTE on Thursday that the deal was reached within days of a speech by FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Nov. 30 2009.

FIFA on Thursday for the first time admitted a payment, which it said was $5 million. But on Friday it said it had actually paid 5 million euros, the equivalent of $7.5 million at exchange rates at the end of November 2009.

"In January 2010 FIFA entered into an agreement with FAI in order to put an end to any claims against FIFA," it said in a statement.

"FIFA granted FAI a loan of $5 million 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."

Former Arsenal and Barcelona forward Henry blatantly stopped the ball going out of play with his hand, before crossing for William Gallas to score. The game in Paris in 2009 ended 1-1 after with France progressing to the finals 2-1 on aggregate.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter revealed that the FAI had asked the governing body to be handed a "33rd place" in the World Cup at a confidential meeting to discuss a possible replay.

FAI chief executive John Delaney criticised Blatter at the time for his handling of the incident and accused the Swiss of being "disrespectful".

Speaking to Irish state broadcaster RTE on Thursday, Delaney said: "It was a payment to the association... not to proceed with a legal case.

"We felt we had a legal case against FIFA because of how the World Cup hadn't worked out because of the Thierry Henry handball, also the way (Sepp) Blatter behaved if you remember on stage, having a snigger, having a laugh at us.

"So that day when I went in and told him how I felt about him... there were some expletives used, we came to an agreement... It was a very good agreement for the FAI, a very legitimate agreement for the FAI."

($1 = 0.9005 euros)

Source: source
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