We have already learned that FIFA allegedly paid $5 million to the Football Association of Ireland as compensation following Thierry Henry's intentional handball during 2009 World Cup qualifying and Ireland subsequently missing out on the World Cup. That payoff seems pretty tame compared to what is being reported in the Argentinean media today.
At The Nation, Ezequiel Fernández Moores alleges that an August 2011 friendly between Argentina and Ireland was also a part of the appeasement of the FAI. To play the friendly would have required a $5 million insurance policy to cover the possibility that Argentinean star Lionel Messi would not be injured. No one had the $5 million, so FIFA ExCo member and CONMEBOL president Julio Grondona devised a program of self-insurance:
"Ten thousand dollars to every Irish player to not hit Messi"So we have gone from bribery to match fixing, all in the name of appeasing the Irish. Messi was reportedly a non-factor in the match, which was decided by (IMO) a clearly offside goal.
Is the $10,000 per Irish player claim true? It is hard to rule out anything when it comes to FIFA these days.
The claim was also repeated in Argentina's largest newspaper.