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Scotland unimpressed by FAI´s FIFA pay-off

Scottish Football Association (SFA) chief executive Stewart Regan slammed the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) for accepting a €5million pay-off from FIFA in 2010.

Regan declared the SFA would never challenge the result of a match “on the back of a refereeing error” ahead of Scotland’s Euro 2016 qualifier against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

The FAI revealed last week it accepted an interest-free loan from FIFA as compensation for not pursuing legal action after the Republic of Ireland were denied 2010 World Cup qualification by France, following Thierry Henry’s notorious handball incident in a 2009 play-off.

The relationship between the SFA and FAI has been strained since the latter complained about the size of the ticket allocation for Irish fans when Scotland and the Republic of Ireland clashed in Glasgow in November.

“It has been a challenging week for the FAI in lots of different ways,” Regan said on Tuesday.

“I’ve always worked under the assumption if you haven’t got anything positive to say then don’t say anything – keep your mouth shut.

“The FAI have chosen to speak on a number of different fronts, recently and last November, and we’ve just got on quietly and prepared for the match and we’ll continue to do that.”

Regan added: “Scotland do things professionally and we do things the right way.

“It has been recalled recently that the SFA were asked to pay £75,000 into the then FIFA vice-president Jack Warner’s account for his personal use following the Scotland-Trinidad and Tobago friendly in 2004 when John McBeth was our president.

“The person who asked for the payment was sent packing with a flea in his ear and warned that if he didn’t [leave], the police would be involved.

“As far as we are concerned, we play matches the right way and qualify – hopefully – in the right way. We would not be interested in having any debate over whether or not there was compensation due on the back of a refereeing error.”

Regan was also on the front foot when challenged about Scotland’s friendly against Qatar on Friday, which was reportedly boycotted by some fans over the West Asian nation’s human rights record.

“Qatar Airways are one of the leading global airline brands in the world. They were on the shirt of Barcelona who lifted the Champions League on Saturday and I didn’t hear much moral indignation about that,” he said.

“We said we were taking the game for footballing reasons. It was convenient for us because Qatar were in the country, they were staying at St George’s Park, they were already playing Northern Ireland.

“We’ve discussed the matter with the Scottish Government. We’ve listened to a lot of the information in the media – much of which has been misleading about the deaths that migrants have experienced as a result of working on World Cup projects.

“We’ve raised it directly with the Qatar FA in terms of concerns with regard to human rights. It’s not something we condone. To be fair, they’ve recognised the challenges… they’ve stated publicly that they believe the kafala system [for migrant workers] will be outlawed by December of this year.

“On that basis, Amnesty International advised us that this was a great opportunity to recognise that there are workers’ rights issues and flag them up. That’s what we’ve done.”

Wed 10 Jun, 2015
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