Ireland split over €5m payout from FIFA
There has been a mixed reaction from the people of Ireland about the €5m FIFA payout over the Thierry Henry handball goal.
Many are accusing the FAI of failing to fight for justice for the players and fans, and allowing themselves to be bought off.
Others claim that the FAI did all it could from a losing position, and at least secured some money to invest in the future of Irish sport.
The news broke yesterday that Ireland were paid by FIFA to drop legal action over the Henry goal, which saw them beaten in the playoff for the 2010 World Cup.
Ireland had lost the first leg 1-0 in Dublin, but won the second leg by the same scoreline in Paris meaning the game went into extra-time. The winners would go to the World Cup Finals in South Africa and the losers would go home.
Henry blatantly handled the ball in the penalty area to get it under control so that he could set up team-mate William Gallas, who scored the goal that sent Ireland out.
After the match Henry admitted to Ireland defender Richard Dunne that he had illegally handled the ball.
A media frenzy followed with calls for the match to be replayed, or that Ireland should be allowed into the World Cup as a 33rd team.
It was widely agreed that the failure of the match officials to spot the handball was a major error and a terrible injustice.
There were even conspiracy theories that FIFA had ordered the match officials to make sure France won the game, as world stars such as Henry and Karim Benzema were needed at the World Cup to attract lucrative sponsorship deals.
Ireland considered taking legal action but now it has been revealed they dropped the case after being paid €5m by FIFA.
FAI chief executive John Delaney said: “I’ll tell you exactly what happened. We felt we had a legal case against FIFA because of how the World Cup hadn’t worked out for us because of the Henry handball. Also the way Blatter behaved if you remember on stage, having a snigger, having a laugh at us.
“So that day when I went in, I told him how I felt about him, there were some expletives used. We came to an agreement. That was a Thursday and on the Monday, the agreement was all signed and all done. It was a good agreement for the FAI, a very legitimate agreement for the FAI.”
There has been some support for the FAI on social media, as well as some criticism. Here are a selection of some of the comments Irish fans have posted;
“So Ireland’s #FAI claiming to be victim of #FIFA bribery. Would admire them more if they had refused the payout and fought the legal case!”
“At best the #FAI look opportunistic. Why do they think they had a case? So all bad ref decisions mean a claim? Ridiculous! #FIFA”
“Henry handball would never have been overturned. But how must the Ireland fans feel their misery was bought off by silent deal? #FAI”
“Bad enough #fifa offer #FAI money to drop case. It’s even worse to FAI accepted it.”
“So the Irish FA sells their sense of morality and the dreams of their fans for a few million euros. Pathetic. Bent as all the rest #FAI”
“Am I missing something on the #FAI thing? We threatened to sue and they settled instead. Happens on steps of courts every day. Fair dues.”
The debate is expected to continue for the next few days. For those of you who wish to see the ‘goal’ again (we’re not sure why you would), here it is.