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Fifa admit paying FAI compensation on Henry handball.

FIFA has admitted paying the Football Association of Ireland US$5m as compensation for the infamous Thierry Henry handball in a World Cup play-off.

France beat Ireland in the 2009 playoff 2-1 on aggregate - with France's extra-time decider in the second leg owing much to an Henry handball in the build-up - which led to the FAI threatening legal action after missing out on the 2010 World Cup.

The payment, initially a loan, was agreed in return for the FAI not taking the case to court. Had Ireland qualified for the 2014 finals they would have had to pay the money back.

Fifa said in a statement: "While the referee's decision is final, and the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) ultimately accepted it as such, in January 2010 Fifa entered into an agreement with FAI in order to put an end to any claims against Fifa.

"Fifa granted FAI a loan of USD 5 million for the construction of a stadium in Ireland. At the same time, Uefa also granted the FAI funds for the same stadium.

"The terms agreed between Fifa and the FAI were that the loan would be reimbursed if Ireland qualified for the 2014 Fifa World Cup. Ireland did not so qualify. Because of this, and in view of the FAI's financial situation, Fifa decided to write off the loan as per 31 December 2014."

Chief executive John Delaney had earlier confirmed the FAI was paid not contest Henry's actions through the courts.

Delaney has revealed he made his feelings known in a no-holds-barred exchange with Fifa president Sepp Blatter - who announced this week he will step down - and the outcome was a financial agreement between the two parties.

Delaney told RTE Radio 1: "We felt we had a legal case against Fifa because of how the World Cup playoff hadn't worked out for us with the Henry handball.

"Also the way Blatter behaved, if you remember on stage, having a snigger and having a laugh at us. That day when I went in, and I told him how I felt about him, there were some expletives used. We came to an agreement.

"That was a Thursday and on Monday the agreement was all signed and all done. It's a very good agreement for the FAI and a very legitimate agreement for the FAI. I'm bound by confidentiality for naming the figure."

Ireland turned in arguably their best performance under former boss Giovanni Trapattoni at the Stade de France and were brimming with confidence when Robbie Keane's 33rd-minute strike cancelled out a first-leg deficit.

However, William Gallas' late equaliser broke Irish hearts with television replays clearly showing Henry's offence, for which he later apologised.


Republic of Ireland's Kevin Kilbane appeals for handball as Thierry Henry, <Bleft, and William Gallas celebrate France's controversial winner in 2009

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Jun 5, 2015
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