East Londonderry DUP MP Gregory Campbell has raised a five million euro loan made to the Football Association of Ireland in the wake of the Thierry Henry handball incident during a Westminster debate on the ‘murky waters’ inundating FIFA.
Addressing the Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe, Damian Collins, Mr Campbell said: “He talks about ‘murky waters.’ Does he agree that, somewhat closer to home, we have the issue of the FAI apparently using 5 million euros that was initially a loan from FIFA, but then became a donation, to help to rebuild the stadium in Dublin?”
Mr Collins replied: “The hon. Gentleman makes an important point. Again, that is a very unusual payment that was received by the FAI.
“It was kind of ‘cash for no questions’ - for not seeking to make a complaint against FIFA because of the incident involving Thierry Henry’s handball in the World cup qualifying match against Ireland. It just shows the extraordinary way in which FIFA works that these sorts of irregular payments were made.”
DUP MP Jim Shannon said: “The cases seem to be endless and growing each day. My hon. Friend the Member for East Londonderry (Mr Campbell) referred to recent revelations of FIFA’s financial agreement with the Football Association of Ireland not to proceed with legal action to overturn the Thierry Henry handball decision after a loan was made of 5 million euros. That is one example, but it perfectly shows two of the biggest issues in the overarching scandal: the lack of transparency and of sportsmanship.”
At the time, Limavady refereeing expert Leslie Irvine laid the blame for the Republic of Ireland’s controversial exit from the World Cup 2010 squarely at the door of French forward Thierry Henry.
“This guy cheated, conned and tricked his way to South Africa, whatever way you want to call it,” said Mr Irvine.
“A lot of commentators have been talking about the referee but it was not a technical mistake within the Laws of the Game. I think the referee is being made a scapegoat here, when clearly the instigator of the incident is to blame,” he added.
Mr Irvine had been appointed FIFA Instructor on the referee selection panel for the World Cup by Head of Refereeing at the world football governing body, Jos-Mara Garca Aranda.