World Cup - FIFA 'bought Irish silence' with €5m pay-off for Henry handball

A newspaper has accused the FA of Ireland of accepting a €5 million pay-off in compensation for Thierry Henry's infamous handball.

World Cup - FIFA 'bought Irish silence' with €5m pay-off for Henry handball

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Henry handball

Henry's intentional handball led directly to the goal which fired France to the 2010 World Cup at Ireland's expense, an act which outraged millions of fans not just in Ireland but around the world.

The FAI was angered, and immediately petitioned FIFA to put things right - suggesting that Ireland might be included at the tournament as a 33rd team.

And the Irish Sun reports that Sepp Blatter's public sniggering at the suggestion first deepened the rift, and led to the compensation:

"Blatter handed Ireland a €5million windfall in a bid to heal the rift over the Thierry Henry ‘Hand of Frog’ scandal — and to get the FAI off his back," the paper reports.

"The money was initially provided as a loan before being converted into a grant.

"FIFA had been expected to consider the extra team plea confidentially and furious FAI boss John Delaney blasted Blatter when he went public. "

The paper quotes a source saying that the money was to "quell the storm" of Irish protest:

"FIFA wanted this row to go away. They feared the FAI delegation could raise the issue at FIFA congress in South Africa deflecting from what should have been a good news story," the source claimed.

"The feeling at the FAI was that Blatter had embarrassed himself... FIFA provided money to try to heal the rift."

Read the full story: Irish Sun

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