Belfast Telegraph

Taoiseach backs FAI boss over 'extraordinary' £3.6m Fifa loan

By Philip Ryan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has backed under-fire Football Association of Ireland (FAI) chief executive John Delaney, but described the €5m (£3.6m) "loan" from Fifa after the Thierry Henry handball as "extraordinary".

Mr Delaney had said his organisation was handed the money after confronting Sepp Blatter about Henry's role in Ireland's World Cup play-off defeat in 2009.

Mr Kenny insisted Mr Delaney's position is tenable but said the FAI should give a comprehensive account of how the association handled the loan payment, which was subsequently written off by Fifa.

The money was given to ensure the FAI would not contest Henry's World Cup handball, which led to the goal that knocked the Republic out of the World Cup in 2010.

"John Delaney should answer and will answer all of those questions. His position is tenable and I'm sure he will be able to answer any questions about this matter," Mr Kenny said.

He said there was no need for the Dail to investigate the payment as it did not involve taxpayers' money.

However, Mr Kenny said Fifa's brass plate company in the Irish Financial Service Centre (IFSC), which had a €112m (£81m) turnover before it was dissolved, should be investigated.

Prime Minister David Cameron is set to tell world leaders that the bribery allegations at Fifa should act as a spur for the international community to target the "cancer" of corruption in organisations, businesses and governments around the globe.

The Prime Minister will use the G7 summit in Germany to call for an international effort to root out corruption, arguing that it is holding back economic growth and human development in countries all over the world.

He will condemn an international "taboo" on pointing the finger at corrupt institutions, and will say the Fifa scandal has shown how shining a spotlight on an organisation can be a trigger for cleaning up its operations.

Mr Cameron will join US president Barack Obama, French president Francois Hollande, Italian PM Matteo Renzi, Canadian PM Stephen Harper and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe for the two-day gathering, hosted at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps by Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel.

Mr Cameron will argue that the issue of corruption - which he put at the heart of the UK's agenda for its presidency of the body in 2013 - has a bearing on all these areas and must be discussed openly as part of the debate.

He will cite World Bank estimates that corruption adds 10% to business costs worldwide, with $1 trillion (£650bn) paid in bribes every year.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) believes corruption costs around 5% of global GDP annually, while in developing countries it can add 25% to the cost of procurement, Mr Cameron will say.

British officials said the PM would speak of a "cancer of corruption that poisons and stifles" the progress which the G7 hopes to make on development and growth, and will say that the kind of scrutiny being applied to Fifa should not be restricted to the footballing body, but applied more widely.

Meanwhile, during the Republic of Ireland's training session in Malahide near Dublin yesterday ahead of tomorrow's game against England, assistant manager Roy Keane refused to be drawn in to the Fifa scandal.

"Not today, I'm not in the mood for all that stuff today," he said.

"If you want to ask me about the games coming up and the players we have, no problem.

"But I'm not going into the Fifa stuff. I'm here to work with the players and focus on the games coming up, so I'm not going there with that one."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph