FAI’s finances continue to look bleak post Euro 2012
Association’s target of debt repayment by 2020 appears to be hugely ambitious
It is in relation to these payments that Uefa’s finance director, Josef Koller – who said that he had attended a meeting with the FAI’s largest creditor in order to provide reassurance regarding Uefa’s payments to the association here – was recently quoted as saying: “It is a really difficult situation, because of the economic crisis, and we said ‘Okay, we can advance certain solidarity payments’.”
Delaney did announce a grant of €3 million two years ago, ahead of the 2011 agm at a time when he was coming under particular pressure in relation to the size of his salary (then around €440,000, now €386,666). It was not made clear, however, when exactly the money would be paid.
In the event that both of the payments actually came last year, it would suggest that the underlying trend of the association’s turnover is more dramatically downward than the actual €6 million drop would suggest which in turn would call into further question the ability of the association to deliver on the directors’ latest statement that: “We remain on course to have all of our loans fully repaid by 2020.”
In support of this statement reference is made to the deal struck with Uefa in relation to centralised television rights which will yield around €10 million annually for the FAI between 2014 and 2018 although the association has consistently failed to clarify how much of this income is likely to be offset by the loss of existing contracts with RTÉ and Sky or how it might affect other existing commercial deals.
In the meantime, the association appears to be making little headway in relation to its debt with bank and other loans listed this year as €57.89 million compared to €58.87 12 months ago. It again paid out more than €4.2 million during the financial year, an amount that accounted for more than 10 per cent of turnover this time around, and while it argues that this figure will drop once it starts repaying the principal, the schedule of those repayments, as laid out in its latest accounts are, to say the least, daunting.
Signs of continued belt tightening are clear with average staff numbers dropping by 17 to 156 over the course of the year with wages and salaries falling from €11.34 million to €9.56 million.
Leading figures in the association have repeatedly suggested that actions like this combined with growing revenues would enable the organisation to clear a debt that it had originally anticipated would be cleared completely by its ill-fated Vantage Club 10-year ticket scheme without the need for the national team having to qualify for major championships.
There would, in the circumstances, appear to be plenty for delegates to question Dignam and Delaney on at next weekend’s event in Wicklow although the association’s finances, even at the height of the Vantage Club fiasco, have generated scarcely any debate at recent general meetings with delegates apparently happy to accept the assurances they are given.