The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has issued a statement revealing the details of a €5m interest-free loan it was paid by FIFA as compensation after the Republic of Ireland controversially missed out on the 2010 World Cup.
FAI chief executive John Delaney claimed on Thursday that world football’s governing body had paid compensation to prevent legal action after a handball from Thierry Henry in a qualifying play-off in November 2009 ensured France progressed to the finals in South Africa.
FIFA rejected the FAI’s request of a replay after meeting president Sepp Blatter, who announced his intention to step down this week amid a corruption crisis, and other FIFA officials.
The FAI said they then held another meeting with FIFA in January 2010, when Blatter apologised for making a joke about Ireland wanting to be the 33rd team to play in the World Cup later that year.
The two parties negotiated that a €5m interest-free loan would be paid to the FAI along with a grant of $400,000 grant for “Regional Football Centres”.
FIFA stated the loan was paid to help cover the cost of the redevelopment of the Aviva Stadium, which the FAI confirmed was the case.
It was also revealed in the FAI statement that the loan was reduced to €4m in 2011 and written off two years later after Ireland failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
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