Delaney escapes Irish FIFA probe

Date published: Saturday 13th June 2015 2:44

Delaney, the Football Association of Ireland chief executive, last week revealed the money was arranged by Sepp Blatter after the team controversially lost a play-off against France in 2009.

The saga took another twist after it was revealed the FAI had to spend 10,000 euros replacing match programmes that had to be shredded for Saturday’s crunch European Qualifier against Scotland in order to erase comments Delaney made about alleged corruption at FIFA.

The Irish supremo wrote his column prior to the revelation that he had accepted a £3.62m from FIFA on behalf of the FAI, and the decision to shred and reprint 18,000 copies at a cost of £4,850 was made without Delaney’s knowledge.

The FIFA payment was classed as a loan and used to pay off debts for the redevelopment of the old Lansdowne Road into the new Aviva Stadium.

Delaney was facing the prospect of a potentially tricky question-and-answer session in front of a parliamentary committee over his handling of the secret deal, even though the FAI is not regulated by the Government.

But following a private meeting in Leinster House on Saturday morning a spokeswoman confirmed: “The committee have opted not to ask the FAI to appear.”

While the FAI is not governed by the Irish parliament, the organisation receives millions in grants for the development of the game.

Part of that is more than 2m euros administered through Sports Council grants for the grass-roots game as well as hundreds of thousands in grants paid directly to clubs and not handled by the FAI.

Delaney has not answered any questions publicly since the revelation but the FAI issued a lengthy statement outlining the chronology of the FIFA ‘pay-off’ and where it was recorded in its accounts.

He disclosed last week that the five million euros was secured from FIFA after a heated exchange with Blatter in his office and the FIFA boss joking that the Republic sought to be team 33 at the World Cup in South Africa.

Delaney claimed the money was paid to stave off a threatened a lawsuit against FIFA after officials missed the handball by Henry to set up a goal for William Gallas.

Such a courtroom claim would have been unprecedented in football history.

The terms were originally confidential, the FAI has said, but the money was also due to be repaid if the Republic qualified for the subsequent 2014 World Cup.

Delaney went on the offensive ahead of being called to the committee by contacting members to state that he had nothing to add to the detailed FAI statement on accounts from 2010.

He also reportedly told some politicians that calling him before a committee would do more harm than good to the team’s prospects of Euro 2016 qualification with the Republic playing Scotland on Saturday afternoon in Dublin in the latest round.

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