FAI to seek legal action over claims Irish players were paid $10k not to injure Messi

La Nacion reported Irish players were played €10k not to injure Messi
La Nacion reported Irish players were played €10k not to injure Messi

The FAI has released a statement regarding the alleged payment of large sums of money to Irish footballers not to injure Lionel Messi during a friendly in Dublin five years ago.

La Nacion alleged that Irish players were paid $10,000 each not to injure the Argentinian in a friendly played at Aviva Stadium before the start of the 2010-11 season.

The FAI released a statement regarding the "baseless" accusations featured in the article. 

"The Football Association of Ireland completely refutes the allegations made about the Republic of Ireland v Argentina friendly match in La Nacion as baseless.

"The match in question was organised by Kentaro and announced by press release prior to the World Cup play offs in 2009. We are consulting our legal advisers in relation to the article, and will be taking further steps."

La Nacion claim that as well as the €5m payment by FIFA to the FAI to end any legal challenge over the Thierry Henry handball, there was also a deal struck regarding a game between Argentina and Ireland in August 2010 at Aviva Stadium, a game announced in the summer of 2009, long before the handball ever happened.

According to the article in La Nacion, FIFA Vice President Grondona is alleged to have offered to guarantee Lionel Messi would play the game as an extra balm to the upset Irish, adding an extra sparkle to the first ever international at Aviva Stadium.

The publication said that Barcelona were not happy with this and Argentina didn't fancy paying the $5m insurance for their star man.

Grondona claimed that the solution was simple; $10k was paid to each Irish player so as not to injure Messi.

However, the FAI said there is no truth whatsoever to these allegations.