FAI commissions consultancy firm to review ‘issues of concern’

Mazars to conduct ‘an independent and in-depth’ examination of association

FAI executive vice president John Delaney adjusts his tie during Ireland’s Uefa Euro 2020 qualifying match against Georgia at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on March 26th. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

FAI executive vice president John Delaney adjusts his tie during Ireland’s Uefa Euro 2020 qualifying match against Georgia at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on March 26th. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has commissioned consultancy firm Mazars to conduct “an independent and in-depth” review of “issues of concern” that have been raised about the association.

The review was announced in a statement from the FAI on Saturday afternoon. The board, according to the statement, “acknowledges the concerns expressed by members of the football family, supporters, commentators, politicians and the public around recent media stories concerning the Association”.

In recent weeks the FAI has confirmed that its former chief executive John Delaney made a €100,000 bridging loan to the organisation in 2017.

The circumstances of that loan are now being examined by Sport Ireland and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) with the FAI also set to come before an Oireachtas committee for questioning on the matter in April.

It has also been reported that the Association paid up to €3,000 a month in rent for Mr Delaney’s home in Wicklow.

“The board is committed to fully addressing the issues of concern and is undertaking steps to do so,” the FAI statement said.

Structure criticism

Mr Delaney resigned as chief executive earlier this month, but has stepped into a newly created role as executive vice president with immediate effect.

He will continue to attend board meetings in his new capacity and will continue handling key responsibilities, including representing the association at Uefa level.

A sub-committee of board members will work with “external advisers and auditors to urgently address these matters”.

The structure of the FAI has itself been criticised in recent weeks, with former FAI chief executive Fran Rooney saying that many people involved in running the association have “gone beyond their sell-by date” and that “there has been very little turnover” in personnel.

Mazars has been asked to complete its review “as soon as possible,” the FAI said.

“The FAI is engaging fully with Sport Ireland and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in dealing with their particular inquiries,” according to the association’s statement.

“The Association will be appearing before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport and recognises and shares the desire for the matters to be addressed as soon as possible, with due regard to the different ongoing processes.”