Government will not resume funding FAI in ‘near future’
Ross insists ‘alternative mechanisms’ will support clubs while Garda investigates
A report on the FAI’s finances by consultancy firm Kosi has been referred to the Garda. File photograph: Inpho
The Government has said it will not resume State funding for the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) in the “near future”.
Minister for Sport Shane Ross, in a statement on Thursday evening, said the Government would work with Sport Ireland to create “alternative mechanisms” to deliver what he described as much-needed support for “deserving” sports clubs and teams around the country.
Football clubs are continuing to receive funding through the State Sports Capital Programme, the Minister said.
The Government decision not to reinstate funding for the FAI comes after it received a report on the organisation’s finances from Northern Irish consultancy firm Kosi.
The report was commissioned by Sport Ireland and delivered to the Department of Sport on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Sport Ireland sent a copy of the report to the Garda.
Mr Ross said that “in tandem with Sport Ireland, we are finalising a proposal to fund the women’s national team and players via a trusted independent third party.
“This proposal, which was approved in principle by the board of Sport Ireland last month, will be concluded and agreed in the coming days.”
Earlier on Thursday, Mr Ross said he had not yet seen the report, which was given to his department two days previously.
Speaking in Dún Laoghaire, Mr Ross said he wanted the report to be published but added that would not be possible while a Garda investigation was under way.
Mr Ross defended the decision of Sport Ireland to refer the report to gardaí, saying it was “the right thing to do”. He said he was impatient with the level of progress the FAI had made in restructuring following recent controversies, and he said he wanted to see new members appointed to the board of the organisation.
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, on developments this week.
The final report was considered by the Sport Ireland audit committee on Wednesday morning, and subsequently discussed at a meeting of the Sport Ireland board. Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy gave a copy of the final report to An Garda Síochána “for their consideration and review”. The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement has also been notified.