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FAI were wrong: Keith

KEITH Andrews, one of the Irish players denied a possible place at the 2010 World Cup finals by the Thierry Henry handball incident, feels that the FAI were "wrong" to accept a €5million pay-off from FIFA.

And the former international says that the dignity which the players earned in the eyes of the world after the scandal has been eroded by the FAI's actions.

"Disbelief and disgust, they would be two words that popped into my head the last few days as it was coming out," Andrews said on Newstalk last night.

"As a country as a whole we were able to hold our heads high with great dignity, that was the one comfort we all had and now that's been taken away from us. That's very sad.

"If you were to ask me personally if I would take a penny? Absolutely not. Do I blame them trying to do something about injustice we suffered? No, but to take money off them was wrong," added Andrews.

"It doesn't sit well, even if we had known about the whole affair it wouldn't have sat well. There was a huge financial loss [for the FAI]. But there was a lack of transparency.

"It wasn't a loan, it was hush money to get rid of John Delaney, the FAI and anyone saying anything negative about FIFA," added Andrews, stating that a cash payment could not compensate the players for missing out on South Africa.

"I would take the money out of it, it was never about the money. Of course, the FAI lost out on revenue and certainly us players lost out on qualification, deals and endorsements," he stated.

"But it was never about that. When the final whistle went and in the days afrerwards, it was the realisation that we were not going to be playing in the World Cup. Having to watch that team play and look at what should have been you, that's the biggest thing that still irks."

FIFA cash