FIFA Admits Having Made Payment to Ireland to Stop Legal Action
FIFA admitted of having made a payment of EUR 5 M to the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) to stop legal action initiated by the Irish.
Ireland launched the legal action after the team was controversially defeated by France in the play-off for the 2010 World Cup, the BBC reports.
French striker Thierry Henry played with his hand before passing the ball to William Gallas, who scored the equalising goal in the second leg of the play-off.
With the game in Paris finishing 1-1, France qualified for the World Cup in South Africa after having won 0-1 in the first leg in Dublin.
The chief executive of FAI John Delaney said a legitimate agreement was made with FIFA to drop the claim.
A spokesman of FIFA confirmed that it had entered into an agreement with FAI in order to put an end to any claims.
FIFA clarified that the payment amounted to USD 5 M and was a loan granted for the construction of a stadium in Ireland.
According to the arrangement, Ireland had to repay the loan in case the team qualified for the 2014 World Cup.
Ireland failed to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil and FIFA wrote off the loan on 31 December 2014.
The comments of Delaney come amidst the corruption scandal, which has rocked FIFA and led to the resignation of its recently reelected President Sepp Blatter.
FIFA is facing two investigations by the USA for widespread bribery allegations and by Swiss authorities over the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
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