How Fifa paid Irish millions not to pursue handball

FIFA paid the Football Association of Ireland a figure reported to be €5m (A$10m) to not pursue legal action in relation to Thierry Henry's World Cup play-off handball, the chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland has confirmed.

John Delaney has said that the FAI were paid the money after a meeting between himself and Sepp Blatter in the aftermath of the incident that denied Ireland a place at the 2010 World Cup.

The payment had been reported before, but this is the first time it has been confirmed.

Henry handled the ball in the build-up to France's winning goal by William Gallas against the Republic of Ireland in the second-leg of their qualifier for the 2010 tournament in South Africa. It led to an outpouring of anger from the football community that France, who were abysmal at the following tournament, escaped punishment.

Speaking to RTE, Delaney explained: "We felt we had a legal case against Fifa because of how the World Cup play-off 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."

The figure paid by Fifa to the FAI has widely been put at €5m.

Ireland's players appeal in vain to the referee after Thierry Henry's infamous handball in 2009 Ireland's players appeal in vain to the referee after Thierry Henry's infamous handball in 2009

Delaney continued: "You've put a figure out there and fair play to you it was a payment to the association to not proceed with a legal case. In there they signed a confidentiality agreement where I can't talk about the amount involved.

"You used a figure there, well done to you, but it was a very good and legitimate deal for the FAI."

The confirmation from the Delaney comes amid allegations of widespread corruption and bribery at Fifa that earlier this week led to the resignation of Fifa president Blatter.