FAI members must ‘come to the fore’ to reform organisation

Sport Ireland chair ‘livid’ to learn Deloitte had filed notice with CRO about soccer body

Sport Ireland chairman Kieran Mulvey and chief execuitve John Treacy at Leinster House ahead of an Oireachtas committe hearing, last week. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Sport Ireland chairman Kieran Mulvey and chief execuitve John Treacy at Leinster House ahead of an Oireachtas committe hearing, last week. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

People within the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) need to “come to the fore” and take up senior positions to reform the organisation, the chairman of Sport Ireland has said.

Kieran Mulvey also doubted if those within the FAI fully know the nature of all transactions involving the organisation over the past four or five years.

He criticised the drip feed of information emerging in the press about the organisation.

Mr Mulvey and John Treacy, the chief executive of Sport Ireland, appeared before the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport last week to discuss the ongoing controversies at the FAI, including a €100,000 loan providecd by former chief executive John Delany to the organisation.

There were further reports about expenditure at the FAI in the Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday.

In response, an FAI spokesman said: “An independent investigation by the association into issues of concern to the board is continuing and further comment is not possible at this time.”

Two major investigations are under way into the finances and governance of the FAI – one by Mazars and another by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

Alleged breaches

Ahead of the appearance of Sport Ireland at the Oireachtas committee last week, auditors Deloitte disclosed it had filed a notice with the Companies Registration Office (CRO) over the FAI’s accounts not having been kept properly and alleged breaches of the Companies Acts.

It was also confirmed at the Oireachtas committee that the FAI board will resign within the next two months and no later than its annual general meeting in July.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio on Sunday, Mr Mulvey said: “The board of Sport Ireland is very clear on this. The FAI has to be totally reformed at its senior-management level and people within that organisation at other levels within it need to come to the fore as a management team and officer board.” Sport Ireland will meet the FAI again this week.

Mr Mulvey also said he was only made aware of the CRO notice an hour before attending the Oireachtas committee.

“Livid is hardly the word to describe it but if I had the three or four people I had met in the room with me I think they’d be claiming some kind of injury at this stage,” he said of his reaction when told of the notice.

‘Extremely material’

“Because we are going into an Oireachtas committee, John Treacy and I had to ring the chairman of the committee to inform him of this before we went in at all. Two reasons: number one it was information that came to our attention that was extremely material.

“Secondly, having received it, it would wholly be inappropriate to withhold it from the chairman and the members of the Oireachtas committee. That would have been grossly irresponsible and disrespectful.”

He said that the FAI was “beginning to come clean with us”.

“I don’t think they know themselves fully the nature of the transactions that have taken place in the FAI in the last four or five years. I think that is the difficulty. We are finding difficulty. We put out procurement for auditors to assist us in the exercise in reviewing the finances of the FAI. We got no response from any firm of auditors in the country. Now isn’t that saying something?”