The John Delaney and FIFA / FAI €5 million bung episode gets more and more outrageous. Delaney, the FAI chief executive is currently being revealed to be about as honest and incorruptible as ex-Vice President of FIFA Jack Warner.
A summary of the background of this scandalous episode (which most readers will already be familiar with) is as follows:
In November 2009, France and Ireland faced each other in the second leg of a World Cup qualification play-off match in the Stade De France, Paris. The match ended in a 1-1 draw (and France won 2-1 on aggregate to advance to the 2010 World Cup finals). During the match, France equalized after striker Thierry Henry had blatantly handled the ball in the Irish penalty area.
In June 2015 it was revealed that the Irish FAI had received a payment of €5 million (on January 15, 2010) from FIFA related to Ireland’s non-qualification for the World Cup 2010. The nature and transparency of this payment remains unclear.
My interpretation of these events follows below.
First of all, Ireland were not winning that match in Paris before Thierry Henry cheated – it was a draw. This vital fact is constantly overlooked in the Irish media.
Ireland would have had to go on and win the match, were they to qualify for the World Cup finals – a fact which somewhat nullifies the request to be admitted to the World Cup finals as the 33rd team – this request was cringeworthy and embarrassing.
It’s not a surprise to me that FIFA President Sepp Blatter laughed at that unprecedented request – a lot of people did, including many in Ireland.
Neither Thierry Henry’s cheating nor Sepp Blatter’s scorn presented a viable basis for a legal challenge to Ireland’s non-qualification for the World Cup 2010.
As Irish football pundit Eamon Dunphy correctly observed on RTE, during the past week, there would be 11 (or 22) law suits after every football match, every weekend, if the results of matches were to be legally challenged because of cheating – considering that fact that all (or most) players cheat constantly in order to get the best possible result for their respective teams.
People who have actually played football to any kind of a good standard (i.e. not John Delaney) will know that cheating happens all the time in football, on all sides – but only cry babies go looking for the result of a match to be changed, or with their hands out looking for cash as ‘compensation’.
To give but one example – did England get a result change, a re-match or compensation in the World Cup 2010 because of Frank Lampard’s over-the-line ‘goal’ against Germany that was not awarded?
Although, in the same interview on RTE, Dunphy was just as hypocritical as Delaney when he commended the FAI chief executive for ‘chancing his arm’ and getting the €5 million payment from FIFA – because if this deal was brokered for a Caribbean or African country, both Dunphy and Delaney would be calling those nations ‘corrupt’ and ‘cheats’ – as they frequently do.
Furthermore, if the €5 million was supposed to be ‘compensation’ for the nation and supporters of Ireland for losing out on the glory of qualifying and participating in the World Cup, then why did Delaney wait until the corruption scandal at FIFA finally erupted (almost 6 years later) in 2015 before releasing details about the payment?
Delaney then quickly changed his story and said it was a ‘loan’ which was given on the understanding that it would be returned to FIFA if Ireland were to qualify for the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. Does that story sound plausible? Was there ever any prospect of Ireland paying back the ‘compensation’ (or ‘loan’)?!.
Delaney is running scared presently, rightly afraid that he will lose his plush job (he definitely should lose it) and he is now attempting to muddy the waters further by claiming that the money was given to the FAI because of “FIFA’s decision – in the weeks before the play-off games in late 2009 – to seed the draw” (Irish Independent).
So which is it John? Please try to get your story straight.
Was the €5 million a ‘compensation’ or a ‘loan’? [UPDATE: the FAI are now referring to it as an ‘inducement‘ – you couldn’t make this stuff up – but the FAI are trying their best].
Was it because Ireland were denied the right (what right?), due to cheating (which happens in every sport) to win a match which they were only drawing (on aggregate) at the time of said cheating?
Or was it because Ireland’s reputation was besmirched by Sepp Blatter?
Blatter never used any bad language when making the scornful comments about Ireland’s ridiculous request to be admitted as the 33rd team at the finals.
Yet it was acceptable for Delaney to tell him (Blatter) “how I felt about him, there were some expletives used” (Irish Independent) when he went to beg FIFA for €5 million.
Is Blatter counter-suing Delaney for this slander? I doubt it. Pure hypocrisy by Delaney!
Or maybe it was because FIFA changed the rules regarding seeding weeks before the play off with France? – In that case why did Ireland not seek the ‘compensation’ before the match even kicked off? Or threaten not to play the match in the first place?
By the way, it doesn’t matter if every single penny of the €5 million is accounted for and was spent on the Aviva Stadium construction project, as claimed by Delaney. The fact that the FAI did not have to spend the same amount from their own funds means that the outrageous salary (and expense accounts etc.) of Delaney could remain intact during a period of time when all the supporters (and citizens) of Ireland (who were blissfully unaware of the €5 million payment) were living through a period of harsh austerity.
If it looks like corruption, and sounds like corruption, and smells like corruption, then it is corruption.
Conclusion: John Delaney needs to immediately resign as FAI chief executive – he is just as corrupt and dishonest as Sepp Blatter.