Wednesday 28 September 2016

FAI release statement clarifying €5m received from FIFA: Extra $400k received in settlement

Published 05/06/2015 | 20:49

FAI Chief Executive John Delaney. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
FAI Chief Executive John Delaney. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

The FAI have tonight issued a statement clarifying the €5million the Association received from FIFA following Ireland's World Cup exit at the hands of France in 2009.

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The statement was released following FAI chief John Delaney's admission to receiving €5m on behalf of the FAI from FIFA following the controversial Thierry Henry handball incident and reports an extra $400,000 'Goal Project grant' was received to develop FAI Regional Football Centres.

In the statement, the FAI say they are 'no longer obliged to abide by the confidentiality agreement with FIFA' and are releasing a statement because FIFA confirmed the transaction.

The FAI also released bank documents clarifying payments to reduce the Aviva debt as well as the agreement drawn up between the Association and FIFA.

"This is also being done to demonstrate that the Board of the Association acted at all times in the best interests of Irish football, and in full compliance with Irish company law," the statement begins.

The statement presents a timeline and reads:

"On November 19 2009, following the World Cup play-offs of that year, the Football Association of Ireland sent letters to FIFA and the French Football Federation to request that the match be replayed.

"On November 20 2009, following a negative reply from FIFA, the Association responded in writing to say that it was considering referring the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and asked them to reconsider their position. A letter was also sent to the French Football Federation asking them to support the position of both Captains, that the game should be replayed.

"On November 27 2009, the Association met with FIFA to raise the hurt caused to the Irish people by what had happened, the damage done to football in Ireland and world-wide and the changes the FAI felt should be made to prevent similar occurrences happening in the future."

The statement reports that the FAI 'left the issue of legal action on the table as FIFA provided no suggestion of a football solution other than Ireland could not go the World Cup'.

"The meeting was attended by the FAI CEO John Delaney, Honorary Secretary, Michael Cody and Legal Director, Sarah O'Shea for the Football Association of Ireland, and by FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, General Secretary, Jerome Valke and Director of Legal Affairs, Marco Villiger for FIFA." it continues.

It was agreed by both parties that the meeting would remain confidential between the relevant parties. The FAI Board was provided with a full account of said meeting on December 1, 2009.

It continues:

"On November 30 2009, during a press conference, Sepp Blatter made a joke of the Association's request to be the 33rd team at the World Cup. This was in direct breach of agreed confidentiality and subsequently brought reputational damage to the FAI.

"On January 12 2010, the Football Association of Ireland attended a second meeting at the request of FIFA in Zurich. This meeting was attended by the same FAI delegation that had attended previously, and by the same FIFA delegation.

"At this meeting Sepp Blatter personally apologised to the FAI delegation for the remarks made about Ireland seeking to be the 33rd team at the World Cup," it reads.

It continues, reporting an extra $400,00 was offered to the FAI by FIFA as a 'Goal Project' grant.

"After negotiation, FIFA offered the FAI a €5m interest free loan by way of compensation as well as a $400,000 Goal Project grant that was used for FAI Regional Football Centres.

"On January 15 2010, an agreement drawn up by FIFA was executed  by the Football Association of Ireland and FIFA. (Doc 1)

"At all times the FAI Board were kept informed of the various meetings with FIFA and the agreements entered into. The €5m was lodged into the FAI's National Irish Bank deposit account on Jan 20, 2010.

"The €5m loan was accounted for in the 2010 audited financial statements, under Bank and other Loans.

"This funding was used to make payments to New Stadium Ltd (trading name for Aviva Stadium management company)  on February 25 and March 26 of 2010, totalling €6,772,711.25.

"The FAI sought a €5m write-down from FIFA on numerous occasions in the period following the agreement.

"In 2011, the loan was reduced to €4m. This transaction was reflected in our turnover figure of €45m in that year's audited accounts. The balance of the loan remained disclosed within Bank and other Loans. In 2013, the remaining €4m was reduced to nil as a result of non-qualification for the World Cup South Africa in 2010 and the World Cup Brazil in 2014. This was subsequently confirmed in writing by FIFA on June 13, 2014. (Document attached) This transaction was accounted for in the FAI's 2013 audited accounts."

The Association reports that all of the above information is 'contained in our audited accounts'.

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