‘I Think Most Irish People Would Say Fair Play To Him’



Eamon Dunphy (top) and John Delaney in Poznan Slovakia, Poland in 2012

“I think it suggests it was a bit late to the Sopranos. Tony decides that this fella is annoying me, he is giving me grief. He reaches for the cheque book, signs the cheque. There’s $5m, we’ll make it a loan. If you don’t qualify for the next World Cup, will you shut up?

“And John Delaney took it. If John Delaney was chancing his arm, and I think he was, then I think most Irish people would say fair play to him provided the money went into Irish soccer.”

Eamon Dunphy on the ‘Hand of Wad’ controversy.


“How could anyone with any soul or simple respect for their fellow-man put a price on the heartache suffered by Dunne, those fabulous fans and a sport craving probity? How could the FAI consider with a straight face investing that Fifa “loan” into any stadium used by players who dream of reaching a World Cup?
As somebody remarked the day after the game: “It’s not about money. This is about sporting integrity.” Who said that? Step forward John Delaney, chief executive of the FAI…”

Henry Winter, Daily Telegraph Football Correspondent.


Thierry Henry’s handball was shameful – but FAI’s crime was a betrayal (Henry Winter, Daily Telegraph)

Fifa corruption crisis: pressure mounts on FAI over €5m payment – live (Guardian)

How John Delaney Sleepwalked Into Fifa Crisis (Goal.com)

Yesterday The Fifa Palm-Off

74 thoughts on “‘I Think Most Irish People Would Say Fair Play To Him’

  1. Paul

    He’s right. You can’t take a legal case because someone hand balled it. There’d be 10 cases a week in the premier league alone. They knew they would have had no case as, well as it being highly embarrassing to go to court over a referee’s decision. We’d have looked even more of a laughing stock than after the ’33rd Country’ debacle. So in this case, Delaney was right to take the money and run.

    Again, provided it went into Irish football. I heard rumours that it wasn’t in the FAI accounts..which would obviously be a totally different issue if that’s true.

    1. gallantman

      A handball is not cheating. Its a foul by one player- not seen by the ref. Happens countless times in every match, every sport. The whining we did about it was an embarrassment. We had no legal case to take- absolutely none whatsoever. So the €5 million isn’t a legal settlement but a bribe to keep the FAI onside for the next FIFA elections.

      1. Jim

        “A handball is not cheating”


        Explain how deliberately breaking the rules isn’t cheating?!

        1. gallantman

          You want to define it that way then. Grand. So in every single soccer/rugby/GAA match(to speak of the ones I know) there are hundreds of incidents of ‘cheating’ per match. Some spotted by refs/some not.
          So, what are going to do?

          1. rotide

            Yes. in most sports that have a referree who awards penalties etc, you will find ‘cheating’ all the time.

            Come down in the last shower or something?

          2. gallantman

            In the context of sport breaking the rules is expected. That’s why you have a referee and appropriate penalties. By your reckoning every single player in every field sport I know is a ‘cheat’.

          3. Jim

            “In the context of sport breaking the rules is expected. That’s why you have a referee and appropriate penalties. By your reckoning every single player in every field sport I know is a ‘cheat’.”

            Why do we have police and appropriate sentences for crimes?

      1. dereviled

        Still waiting for an answer to that one.
        We lost, game over, no comebacks.
        So why get €5 million?

  2. rugbyfan

    Maybe the funds were used to hire the new management after Trap left.

    ‘Build’ a new stadium should read ‘Fill’ a new stadium………….. working out well so far!

    Either way Delaney might have a bit more explaining to do!

  3. rugbyfan

    Maybe the funds were used to hire the new management after Trap left.

    ‘Build’ a new stadium should read ‘Fill’ a new stadium………….. working out well so far!

  4. Lisa

    SHOW us where it is in the accounts Delaney.

    And while you’re at it, stop taking handoffs from redacted if you truly can run an organisation that is fit for purpose.

  5. The Bad Ambassador

    What’s the proper URL for the guardian link – it’s the same as the link text (Fifa corruption crisis: pressure mounts on FAI over €5m payment – live) which is clearly wrong.

    1. ahyeah

      Do you want someone to wipe your nose for you, too?

      Go the Guardian and you’ll find it.

  6. ZeligIsJaded

    Sporting integrity and soccer?

    This is a game where cheating is so ingrained in the sport, that it’s a common sight to see a player dive while his fellow players surround the referee making ludicrous ‘carding’ gestures.

    Fair play for getting 5 Million.

    1. Medium Sized C

      You are not going to find a field sport where cheating or near-cheating isn’t ingrained.
      Singling out soccer as being a sport where cheating is ingrained is actually pretty silly.

      1. ZeligIsJaded

        I disagree.
        Cheating is part and parcel of life, sure.
        But it seems to be tolerated (celebrated) in soccer in a way I certainly haven’t seen in any other sport.

        1. PAUL

          Richie McCaw, one of rugby’s most celebrated players mainly because he was so good at cheating.

          1. ZeligIsJaded

            The man has won the IRB Player of the Year more times than anyone else.

            Was that a celebration of his ‘cheating’ too?

            There is nothing to argue.


          2. ZeligIsJaded

            I’m not a ‘rugby type’.

            But tbh, if I was to pick a sport where to my mind cheating was not tolerated, I would point to rugby as one of a few that stand out.

            I don’t think soccer players are less honest than rugby players, but I think soccer allows behaviour that is to the detriment of the game.

            When you see a player dive ridiculously in soccer, you don’t bat an eyelid any more. Nothing is done to change things.

            I can only assume it’s encouraged by everyone involved.

            It’s a ridiculous spectacle.

          3. Joe the Lion

            You are an uninformed troll. Simulation is a foul in soccer and is often punished. Go away and feel superior elsewhere

          4. ZeligIsJaded

            Ah Joe.

            C’mon now.

            I’m sorry. I take it all back.

            Soccer, it’s governing body, and all involved with the game – well, they’re A1 in my book!

            It’s an interesting game. Good to watch. And its fans are a beacon of light in dark times.

          5. rotide

            Zelig , you are on the wrong end of things here.

            McCaw cheats in almost every match he plays in . Outstanding player and fully deserving of player of the year when he won it, but intentionally gaming the referee at breakdowns is no different from simulation in football. It’s a foul, or ‘cheating’ if you prefer.

        2. PAUL

          his specialty was disrupting the break-down and was awesome at it but most of the time he was off his feet/on the wrong side.

          “But it seems to be tolerated (celebrated) in soccer in a way I certainly haven’t seen in any other sport.”
          If McCaw was “IRB Player of the Year more times than anyone else” how does this square with cheating being tolerated in football in a way its not tolerated in rugby

        3. Mikeyfex

          How many times have we seen rugby players flop down around a ruck on their own try line to prevent cameras getting any view of a grounding for the TMO? It’s as direct a manipulation of the circumstances to gain advantage as a dive inside the box in soccer.

          It used to be clever sportsmanship but when everyone uses it quickly ruins a game.

          1. Zarathustra

            Ah, Mikey, come on, you know that a try won’t be awarded unless it’s conclusive; hence, the wording of the referee’s question ‘Is there any reason I shouldn’t award the try?’, and players know this, so they’re not going to deliberately try and obscure any definitive grounding, simply because if the referee thinks a try has been deliberately prevented through unfair means/ misconduct by the defending team, he’ll award a penalty try anyway. Plus, when the average weight of a player is 104 kg, it’s pretty difficult in bad weather conditions on a bad pitch to gather the correct momentum in a ruck, so players falling or slipping is inevitable. With that said, Ireland’s scrums and rucks were very impressive last season and I think Schmidt is doing a brilliant job – bring on the World Cup!

          2. Joe the Lion

            While I enjoy the progress of the Irish team the idea there is no cheating is rugby is laughable. What is prized in rugby is in effect not getting caught. That and the fact the interpretations of the rules of what’s acceptable are inconsistent between the hemispheres. I’m supposing that in time these standards will balance out as the game gets more professional and more coverage. I do like the citing rule in rugby and soccer could benefit from this. But in practise players who indulge in simulation in soccer become the target of interest by refs eventually.

          3. Mikeyfex

            Oi, Zara, don’t you contradict me. :)

            I’m talking more about players around the ruck, thinking or knowing that the opposing team has grounded the ball so they position themselves, by lying down, around the base of the ruck to obscure the view of cameras. Look out for it.

            The problem with cheating in soccer is it makes you look like a dramatic, weakling wuss, not exactly role model material. Cheating in rugby requires a bit of bravery, see McCaw, it’s less obvious and less infuriating to the viewer.

            I’d be a big fan of citing for divers, but that won’t overturn incorrect penalty decisions and we’d be back to square one asking be the 33rd team in a competition again, for instance. It’s tough, players should just somehow be made to see the shame in it.

          4. Zarathustra

            Ha, ha, Mikey – would I dare contradict you? I was just adding another dimension to your very astute, knowledgeable and superior observation of the human nature in sport! Nevertheless – and dare I say it – let me play Devil’s Advocate here; regarding international rugby, and leaving the TMO aside for the moment, the level of refereeing has improved and has had to improve a lot in the past 15 years, [e.g. think Nigel Owens even 5yrs ago] and especially since it became a professional sport; consequently, it comes with a greater responsibility and the onus is on the referee [and his/her staff] to be au fait with the idiosyncrasies’ of players and teams, which includes knowing what aspects a player has form in when it comes to dodgy, or consistent behaviour regarding fouls etc… My point is, referees know what to look for in a game and sometimes they have to use their discretion, and, if there is a pattern of misconduct in a player’s past, or in the game in question, the ref could award a penalty try in circumstances like the one you’re referring to – the same way they have discretion in giving yellow cards for holding on, or for not rolling away. But, I really do think that most instances of obscuring the ball while in the ruck are accidental, and a by-product of those big, gorgeous men scrambling to score/ defend their line – because if any player does tried to conceal the grounding of a ball, either the TMO/ ref & staff will be aware of it, and a penalty try will be awarded and possibly a sin bin as well:)

  7. Custo

    The most annoying thing about that interview was the following:

    Interviewer: “have you ever taken a bribe? ”
    Delaney (laughs) : “not on my salary”

    1. Skeptical O'Hare

      That and his scoffing at the bankrolling of a vanity movie. Maybe he forgot about the documentary called John The Baptist. Bankrolled by Redacted. I believe DOB said the following:
      “John Delaney could run anything. John Delaney could run UEFA easily. He could run FIFA as far as I’m concerned — certainly better than [FIFA President] Sepp Blatter, and more honestly.”

    2. Lilly

      Delaney is a gobsh*te. If he was a multi-billionaire, he’d still be a gobsh*te. Another ’emperor’ with no clothes.

  8. timble

    The UK press are happy to use the case to whip up more angst over their own failure to win the FIFA World Cup, otherwise they wouldn’t give a s***

  9. Medium Sized C

    I’m confused.

    There is always an angle to this stuff.
    What is the angle.

    We didn’t get into the WC because of something that happens all the time in football.
    A dodgy call here a missed handball there and someone loses a game.
    I was gutted at the time, but John Delaney was ridiculous after it.

    The FAI got 5 million for it, we find now.
    That is good surely?
    They missed out on World Cup money, so they got a few bob for their troubles.

    Why is this a problem?
    Why is it news?
    Was Dennis O’Brien involved?

    1. martco

      the thing to know is where the 5M (and the 12M from UEFA) went afterwards????

      the state of the game on the ground is in shreds, I know people who regularly have to resort to getting the kids to go out door to door with sponsorship cards so their club can buy jerseys

      and it’s well known that even at the upper levels some clubs go for weeks on end not paying the staff

      go on John show me the money you prick

    2. Verbatim

      The problem is that it was cheating and FAI got paid to look the other way. Why didn’t he admit that he got 5m there and then, that would have been somewhat honest…? I feel sick to my stomach, where does the corruption end?

      1. Joe the Lion

        It’s not necessarily corruption though, it’s sigh business as usual in the sporting world. The FAI is not a public body and in effect is answerable to nobody.

    3. Feminazi Gestapo

      Let’s be optimistic, maybe there is no downside to this.

      We missed the World Cup due to cheating, but a legal case was never going to work. Instead we got to have a good think about what the make-up sex with Thierry Henry would have been like. We got the money. And if we didn’t get the money (and even if we did, in which case: bonus), we hopefully got a way of dislodging the slug that is John Delaney.

    4. PKX

      “A few bob for their troubles” or what’s known in places like Trinidad and Qatar as a bribe.

  10. mauriac

    so where did the money go and was it related to Ireland backing Blatter in 2011 ? Eamo is a muppet

  11. doncolleone

    obvs Blatter thought there was something there if they felt the need to drop a 5 million bribe to this sleazy scanger to keep his mouth shut. all this “fair play” to yet another corrupt chieftain pretty much sums up the idiocy of this country.

  12. Shytehawke

    That picture of Delaney is from the infamous disco train in Slovakia 2010, not Poland 2012. Poland was where he was carried out of the bar without his shoes.

  13. Fergus the magic postman

    The provision that it was a loan, & that it would be written off if Ireland failed to qualify for the following world cup is interesting.

    Did you know John Delaney has a girlfriend? He likes to keep this quiet, so not manyt people know about her.
    He told Step Ladder: Oi! Stop looking at my woman! or something similar.

  14. Formerly known as @ireland.com

    I can report that replays – from about half a dozen different angles, including mobile phone footage, of Henry’s hand ball have been replayed all day on Aussie news programs.

    If the $5M went to Irish soccer, the boy done good, if it didn’t, send him to jail.

  15. gallantman

    A handball is not cheating. Its a foul by one player- not seen by the ref. Happens countless times in every match, every sport. The whining we did about it was an embarrassment. We had no legal case to take- absolutely none whatsoever. So the €5 million isn’t a legal settlement but a bribe to keep the FAI onside for the next FIFA elections. What it was spent on is irrelevant.

    1. rotide

      Are you on drugs?

      Deliberately doing something that you know to be outside the rules of the game is cheating. It’s the dictionary definition of it.

      I’m not knocking Henry for doing it. I Hope that Keane would have done the same thing (in fact he did in that same match, it just happend to be quite near the centre circle). It doesnt change the fact it’s cheating.

  16. Paddy

    Nice to see Irish journalists out front leading with this story……..wait a minute..? What about the IOC and Ireland?
    And the sacred cow of Irish life the GAA?
    Can’t remember one story about graft in that organisation…. Could Irish journalists get the finger out…please?

  17. Kdoc

    Did this come to light to get the spoke in before those investigating FIFA came across it in their trawl and might put an entirely different slant on it?

  18. Mij Fox

    Sounds to me like JDizzle buried this €5m over the last 3/4 years in “the association’s” accounts in some inoffensive figure like operating income where it wouldn’t be flagged. 5 mill over 3/4 years goes a long way to help peddle some nonsense that “the association” is in a sound financial state and therefore pay a gomben pr1ck a completely unjustified figure of 400k over the last few years while the domestic league (problem child as it is referred to by it’s CEO) is in a complete state with little or no funding. It’s one thing after another, from the Scottish game ticket fiasco to singing rebel songs in the Bath Pub and then using “the association’s” money to pay the priciest legal firm in dear old London town to deny such actions. It’s hard to believe he’s got as far as he has in life. But sure it is Ireland after all and when you have heros like Eamo saying fair play to him for getting the cash then why is there any wonder. Throw a match to the place, joke.

    1. martco

      yes but lets make sure we get the paperwork out first (if any) before you throw any matches alrite?

      we want to see these champagne charlie pricks hung first

      I’m surprised Dunphy’s utterances here, he of all should know how bad things are in the domestic game, he of all should be asking where the millions went but then I suppose he likes a drop of the oul Moët too, eh Eamo???

  19. Davy Jones

    Anyone saying “Fair play Delaney” clearly is adopting a bar stool attitude to this.
    The arrangement that the FAI and FIFA entered was that the 5 mill was a loan and if Ireland failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup then the loan was written off. Hence FIFA had a financial incentive invested in ROI qualifying for 2014 !! Amazing !!
    Lets say we did qualify for 2014 , in the last qualifying game and were the beneficiaries of a soft decision from the ref, dodgy offside , handy pen whatever … and this arrangement subsequently came to light !!!
    The whole thing is embarrassing, not least for the fact that Delaney blurts all this out on the radio proudly.

  20. Mij Fox

    Eamo would be the first person to call anyone else out as a chancer and a crook if they acted in such a way. But for some reason he’s lauding him now and as he has done for the past 10 years. Something very fishy about his stance in all this.

  21. al

    did FIFA pay the FAI 5 million not to qualify for Brazil 2014? cause thats what it sounds like. wonder if that was made public before the qualifiers started how the press and bookies would have responded every time Ireland dropped points?

    or to put it another way, did the head of the FAI bet 5 million against Ireland qualifying? … Someone needs to sit Delaney down for a chat me thinks

  22. Frilly Keane

    ‘Best day’s work John Delaney ever done in that FAI gig

    I’d ‘a asked for more tho

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