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Tuesday 27 September 2016

FAI releases payment timeline

Published 05/06/2015 | 15:51

Ireland's Taoiseach Enda Kenny has weighed into the FIFA controversy
Ireland's Taoiseach Enda Kenny has weighed into the FIFA controversy

The Football Association of Ireland has released the timeline of events which led to it receiving a five million euro payment from FIFA.

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Responding to calls for further details from Ireland's Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the FAI posted a comprehensive blow-by-blow account on its website last night.

FAI chief John Delaney brought the issue to public attention when he said his organisation was given the sum after confronting Sepp Blatter about Ireland's World Cup 2009 play-off defeat, brought about by Thierry Henry's handball goal.

The fall-out spilled over into a high-level summit of Ireland's cross-border peace-building North South Ministerial Council in Dublin, where leaders called on the Irish football executive to shed light on the transaction.

Kenny described the payment as "quite extraordinary" and called on Delaney to answer questions about the circumstances surrounding it.

He said: "This is quite extraordinary. But I would say that any questions that need to be answered here in the interests of transparency and accountability... John Delaney should answer and will answer all of those questions, I'm quite sure."

And last night, the FAI obliged, posting a 14-point list of events, including Blatter apologising to Ireland for making a joke about them - a point which was immediately followed by confirmation of the loan.

The FAI said that after Blatter made public its suggestion it should be a 33rd representative at the World Cup, he "personally apologised" at a second meeting between the FAI and FIFA on January 12, 2010.

It then added: "After negotiation, FIFA offered the FAI a 5m euro interest-free loan by way of compensation as well as a 400,000 US dollar Goal Project grant that was used for FAI Regional Football Centres."

The FAI added that the money was paid into its account on January 20, 2010 and was accounted for and was later reduced to 4m euros.

Finally, the FAI stated that in 2013 the loan was written off, attaching a letter signed by FIFA's deputy secretary general, Markus Kattner, confirming as much.

Delaney, Kattner and secretary general Jerome Valcke's signatures also appear on the agreement document relating to the loan, again posted by the FAI on its official website.

Earlier, Kenny had said he believed the FAI chief's position remained "tenable" and expressed his confidence that outstanding questions about the payment would be responded to.

Sports Minister Pascal Donohoe, also at the talks in Dublin Castle, said he spoke with Delaney and also pressed him to bring "clarity and certainty" to the matter.

"It is in everybody's interest that these matters be cleared up," he said.

The minister added: "It is primarily a relationship and transaction that took place between the FAI and FIFA and I expect that clarity will be brought to this issue."

He added: "It is a significant amount of money, it is obviously something that the country does have a lot of interest in."

Donohoe refused to say whether he was reassured or not after his conversation with Delaney.

Asked if the FAI boss retained his confidence, he replied: "I support John Delaney in his work, I know the importance of grassroots soccer throughout our country."

Donohoe added: "I support John Delaney and the work the FAI does. Alongside that, it is important that matters that are of interest to the public are answered and dealt with in a comprehensive manner and I expect that to happen."

The Sports Minister said he was "absolutely not aware" of any such payment and would be very surprised if any of his predecessors knew about it.

Press Association

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