Martin O'Neill maintains silence on FIFA deal as Jose Mourinho hits out
Martin O'Neill says he will discuss the issue of the FAI's €5m deal with FIFA at a later date after the controversy rumbled on over the weekend with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho having his say.
Mourinho could not disguise his amazement at the news that FIFA struck a 'loan' arrangement with the FAI so they would drop a legal case after Thierry Henry's handball in 2009.
"This, with the Irish federation, for me is the end of the world," said Mourinho. "You change the truth of the game for €5m? What next? Because more stories will come for sure."
The whole episode has cropped up at a desperately unfortunate juncture for O'Neill seeing as Saturday's qualifier with Scotland could prove to be the defining game of his tenure.
"I'll discuss it sometime, okay?" said O'Neill, when Mourinho's observations were put to him. "I haven't the time to do it really here. Do you know what I will (discuss it) when it's done and dusted. Absolutely, I'll just put on my seal of approval or disapproval on it. Seriously."
It emerged over the weekend that the FAI also received a substantial loan in excess of €10m from UEFA in 2013.
A statement from the European football authorities said that the monies went towards the construction of the Aviva Stadium, adding that the loan was organised directly between FAI and UEFA and had nothing to do with FIFA.
The FAI have confirmed that €8.5m will have to be repaid to UEFA, with the latest developments again stressing the impact of poor premium level ticket sales at the renovated stadium.
Initially, it was anticipated that the 10-year tickets would cover the association's contribution to the project. Two years ago, UEFA finance director Josef Koller said a solidarity payment had been advanced to the FAI due to a 'really difficult situation'.