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Monday 5 December 2016

'No persons directly employed' by FIFA Ireland Ltd

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FIFA President Sepp Blatter
FIFA President Sepp Blatter

FOR most of its existence, FIFA's Irish company was based in one of the distinctive glass office blocks in the IFSC.

La Touche House, beside the Luas Red Line, was home to FIFA Ireland Limited.

Joseph 'Sepp' Blatter was the company's chairman.

The company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of FIFA in Switzerland, was incorporated on August 30, 2001.

Blatter, who visited Dublin the previous year to attend the FAI International Awards, was appointed as a director of FIFA Ireland Ltd on September 4, 2001.

The 79-year-old remained a director until the firm was wound up, though FIFA says he did not have any operational function at the company.

FIFA's general secretary Michel Zen Ruffinen, the Football Association of Ireland's general secretary Brendan Menton and its president Michael 'Milo' Corcoran were also appointed as directors the same day as Blatter.

FIFA said the firm's purpose was to enter into licence agreements with FIFA's Japanese affiliates - companies such as Toshiba, FujiFilm and JVC - in relation to the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea.

A combined 171 million Swiss francs (approximately €112m) was transferred to FIFA in Switzerland by the Irish firm between the last four months of 2001 and the end of 2006. FIFA said the firm was "in full compliance with all relevant laws and regulations".

Each year the accounts also state that there was no directors' remuneration paid by the firm and there were "no persons directly employed" during the period in question.

mismanagement

There were, however, changes in the ranks of directors.

In 2002, Zen Ruffinen had a massive row with Blatter, who he accused of financial mismanagement at FIFA.

Blatter denied the claims and said there was a "smear campaign" against him ahead of his re-election bid that year.

Blatter was comfortably elected FIFA president and Ruffinen agreed to leave FIFA after the World Cup.

His contract at FIFA was terminated on July 4 and his resignation from FIFA Ireland Ltd took place on the same day.

He was replaced by fellow Swiss national Urs Linsi. He stayed on as a director of the Irish company until August 2007.

FAI official and future president David Blood was appointed a director of the Irish firm in 2003, replacing Mr Menton that September. Mr Menton later resigned as FAI boss after the release of a report criticising the organisation's handling of the Saipan fiasco in 2002.

FIFA Ireland Ltd's final set of accounts to the end of 2006 state that "income from the company's primary activities ceased" in May that year.

"The future of the company is currently under consideration, with no firm decision on its future having been made to date," the document states.

A special resolution of the company filed on February 29, 2008 gave notice of the intention for the company to be wound-up voluntarily, and accountancy firm McStay Luby was appointed liquidator.

FIFA Ireland Ltd, the Irish outpost of world football's controversy-plagued governing body, was finally listed as dissolved as of February 24, 2009.

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