By Conor McMorrow
Chief Executive of the FAI John Delaney has told an Oireachtas Committee that the €5m the organisation received from FIFA following Thierry Henry’s infamous hand ball was fully accounted for.
The payment from FIFA followed Ireland’s extra-time play-off defeat to France in Paris when Henry intentionally handled the ball in the build-up to the game’s decisive goal.
As a result, Ireland missed out the play-offs for a place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Delaney said: "In terms of the FIFA €5m. It was obviously a contentious matter and a committee decided that it wouldn't be discussed in this house.
“That was a decision made maybe a year or two ago when deputy (John) O'Mahony was chairperson.
"What I will say is that all that money was properly accounted for and signed off by our auditors. €1m was initially was given in revenue and subsequently the €4m in a later year was given."
Delaney added that there was a detailed statement "at the given time."
Responding to questions about the FIFA scandals, he said: "Yes we were all disappointed with how events turned out in FIFA. I wouldn't describe Sepp Blatter as a good friend of mine."
Delaney also said he supported a proposal to increase the number of teams at the World Cup to 48, saying: “If I was being really frank with you, any opportunity that gives Ireland a greater opportunity to get to a World Cup, in theory or principal I would support."