Union members accuse FAI chief Jonathan Hill of failing to ‘restore trust’ with staff and public

Siptu representatives seeking ‘urgent meeting’ with Minister of State for Sport Thomas Byrne over payments to chief executive, saying they have ‘lost confidence’

FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill at the Republic of Ireland vs New Zealand international friendly at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, on Tuesday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

The FAI under chief executive Jonathan Hill has failed to restore trust with the Irish public, claim Siptu members working for the association in a letter to the Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education, Thomas Byrne.

The union’s representatives are seeking an “urgent meeting” with the Minister regarding payments to Hill, including what is believed to be €12,000 he received for holidays not taken, “which is banned by the FAI,” the letter states.

The FAI chief agreed to repay the money and another €8,500 related to travel expenses from London, where he continues to live and commute at his own expense.

“The aforementioned breach of FAI policy could be viewed as gross misconduct under current FAI disciplinary policy,” wrote Teresa Hannick, the Siptu divisional organiser.


“Our members have advised us that they have now lost confidence in the FAI senior management and some members of the FAI board,” continued the letter to Byrne. “They contend that over the past year there has been a failure by senior management to restore trust with FAI staff and between the association and the Irish public.”

FAI accounts state that Hill was paid €282,812 in 2022 and more than €270,000 in 2021. The association states that the total remuneration of the CEO did not exceed the remuneration of a secretary general in government, as agreed in the memorandum of understanding signed in January 2020 by the then minister for sport Shane Ross and former FAI chairman Roy Barrett, as part of a €30 million bailout.

However, while a Sport Ireland/KOSI audit of the association continues, the Government is withholding €6.8 million in funding for Irish football, including a €500,000 bonus for Katie McCabe’s women’s team as recognition for reaching the World Cup finals in Australia.

Last week Hill “apologised unreservedly” to FAI staff, saying he would be available this week to answer any “questions or concerns”.

Almost €7m for FAI withheld until payments to chief executive addressedOpens in new window ]

The letter goes on to criticise Hill for not engaging “meaningfully” with the union on collective bargaining matters, adding that the halt on funding will have a “detrimental impact” on the pay of “ordinary workers” and put their future employment at risk.

“Our members are also concerned regarding the issues of governance reform in the association and the FAI remuneration committee.”

The FAI and Hill have been approached for comment.

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent