Trapp claims Blatter offered him "a way to forget"

Former Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni claims he was approached by Sepp Blatter

Giovanni Trapattoni has claimed FIFA president Sepp Blatter offered him "a way to forget" the Thierry Henry handball incident which robbed the Republic of a place at the 2010 World Cup.

The Republic's former manager told an Italian media outlet that Blatter spoke to him directly in the aftermath of the Paris play-off match which the Irish lost to France by a single controversial goal.

Trapattoni told La Stampa: "Blatter said 'meet me, we can find together a way out, a way to forget'.

"I do not know what he wanted. I just know that when he gave me his hand, I did not give mine because I do not have two faces."

The claim came as the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) published a copy of a confidentiality agreement it reached with world governing body Fifa after it had confronted Blatter over Ireland's 2009 World Cup exit.

The release of the document, which shows how in January 2010 Fifa and and the Republic's footballing authorities entered into a loan agreement, has put renewed pressure on FAI chief executive John Delaney.

One newspaper yesterday quoted a senior government figure saying Mr Delaney was "one slip away" from losing their support.

Speculation about the FAI chief executive's future came after the Republic's manager Martin O'Neill declined to explicitly back Mr Delaney at a press conference ahead of yesterday's clash against England at the Aviva Stadium.

Although Taoiseach Enda Kenny and sports minister Paschal Donohoe voiced support for Mr Delaney on Friday, there is deep concern within government circles at the continued embarrassment surrounding the episode.

Mr Delaney faces further questions as the Oireachtas sport committee looks set to call him and his fellow FAI officials and grill them on the controversial deal.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times yesterday made more sensational claims about bribes in the contest to host the 2010 World Cup.

The paper printed extracts from secret tapes, including one claim that a rival bidder actually won the vote to host the 2010 World Cup before it was then rigged in South Africa's favour.

The tapes were apparently suppressed by Fifa and Blatter after they were handed over by the Sunday Times five years ago. They include footage of top Fifa officials talking candidly to undercover reporters about the million-dollar bungs to host the World Cup.

In one extract, Fifa executive committee members who took part in the ballot for the 2010 World Cup allege the contest was rigged and that Morocco had beaten South Africa to host the soccer show-piece.


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