Forensic audit on FAI finances referred to Garda

Sport Ireland commissioned the report into the financial affairs of football’s governing body

The report was delayed after Sport Ireland decided to expand its scope to examine the severance package given to John Delaney as part of his agreed exit from the FAI earlier this year. File photograph: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The report was delayed after Sport Ireland decided to expand its scope to examine the severance package given to John Delaney as part of his agreed exit from the FAI earlier this year. File photograph: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

 

One of the first in-depth investigations to report on the finances of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has been referred to the Garda.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, Minister for Sport Shane Ross said Sport Ireland had made the decision to refer the report to the Garda after receiving the final version of it.

Sport Ireland commissioned the forensic audit of the FAI in the wake of controversy relating to its finances and its former chief executive, John Delaney.

Mr Ross briefed the opposition and the head of the Oireachtas Sport Committee, Fergus O’Dowd, earlier on Wednesday on the developments. In a letter to Mr O’Dowd, seen by The Irish Times, Mr Ross said Sport Ireland received its final report on Tuesday, and it was passed to his Department on Tuesday evening.

The final report was considered by the Sport Ireland audit committee on Wednesday morning, and was subsequently discussed at a meeting of the Sport Ireland board. Following that, John Treacy, the chief executive of Sport Ireland, furnished a copy of the final report to the Garda “for their consideration and review”. The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement has been notified as well.

Mr Ross has promised the Garda the full cooperation of his department in any investigation arising into matters laid out in the final report.

He will not, however, furnish a copy to the Oireachtas sport committee. “I have taken legal advice on the final report which is by its nature a private and confidential document which is not intended to be placed in the public domain,” he said.

The legal advice, Mr Ross wrote, highlighted “the importance of natural justice in respect of all individuals named in the report”.

Most recently, the report was delayed after Sport Ireland decided to expand its scope to examine the severance package given to Mr Delaney as part of his agreed exit from the FAI earlier this year.

In his statement, Mr Ross said he would not be a position to publish the report or make any comment on its findings at this time.

On Wednesday night, the FAI said it had not received a copy of the final report, but it would co-operate with all ongoing inquiries.