FAI to publish new financial results with details of Delaney’s exit package

Shane Ross says football body’s next chief should be ‘completely independent’

Shane Ross: “The FAI’s reform agenda needs to be strongly led in a manner that allows normality to return to football in Ireland as quickly as possible.”  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Shane Ross: “The FAI’s reform agenda needs to be strongly led in a manner that allows normality to return to football in Ireland as quickly as possible.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) plans to publish new financial results on Thursday, which will include full details of John Delaney’s exit package.

The accounts will cover 2018, and are expected to lay bare the gravity of the financial situation facing the FAI, which has this year been rocked by controversy relating to its arrangements with its former chief executive Mr Delaney. The FAI, whose board discussed the accounts at a meeting on Monday night, will hold a press conference to mark the publication.

Elsewhere, it is understood that no names of independent directors have yet been given to the FAI by the independent appointments committee established to select the directors earlier this year.

Minister for Sport Shane Ross has made the appointment of the four directors one of the key reforms to be achieved. However, the FAI believes it is powerless to go forward until it is handed the names . It is hoped the names will be decided on and given to the association in the next two weeks.

Earlier on Monday Mr Ross has said the new chief executive of the FAI should be “completely independent of any present or previous involvement with the FAI”.

Mr Ross’s statement came after John Foley, the former head of Athletics Ireland, said he would not be taking up the role, citing a lack of support for his appointment from “key stakeholders”.

Sources believe that Mr Foley’s intended appointment to the role, which was to have taken place on Monday, was ultimately shot down due to a lack of support from Mr Ross, who has made root-and-branch reform of the FAI a centrepiece of his demands prior to restoring Government funding.

He has previously objected to the ongoing service of Donal Conway as president of the FAI, and objected to the installation of former FAI official Noel Mooney as interim general manager – a role which Mr Mooney finished at the weekend.

In a statement on Monday evening, Mr Ross and Minister of State for Sport Brendan Griffin restated their belief that the most important task at hand for the FAI should be the appointment of four independent directors.

“Thereafter it is important that the board, under the leadership of the independent chairperson, moves quickly to fill the CEO vacancy.

“To satisfy the concerns of all stakeholders, the new CEO should be completely independent of any present or previous involvement with the FAI. The FAI’s reform agenda needs to be strongly-led in a manner that allows normality to return to football in Ireland as quickly as possible. The restoration of Government funding can only follow such reform,” the statement concluded.

Sources in Sport Ireland on Monday confirmed that the intended appointment of Mr Foley had the support of that organisation on an interim basis.

“We think he’s the right guy, not for the long term but for the short term,” one source said.

It was hoped that his appointment would bring leadership and stability to the organisation in the coming months. However, it is thought his appointment became untenable after concerns emerged about support from Mr Ross and the Department of Sport over the weekend.

These concerns are thought to focus on the fact that Mr Foley was an active part of the FAI during Mr Delaney’s tenure, including taking committee seats. He was nominated by Mr Delaney to be a member of the League of Ireland national executive since 2007.

FAI sources expressed deep frustration at the development which comes in the middle of a period of crisis for the organisation precipitated by revelations about the organisation’s finances and the nature of its financial relationship with its former leader Mr Delaney. Mr Delaney stepped away from the organisation earlier this year.

Invaluable

In a statement on Monday morning, the FAI said: “Throughout our dealings with John [Foley], his suitability for the role was beyond question, and the level of professionalism and clarity he could bring to the association would have been invaluable.

“John’s experience and influence will be especially missed by our staff who would have benefitted greatly from his arrival.”

Mr Foley told RTÉ on Monday morning that he believed “there will be a need for leadership particularly for the staff in what will be a challenging time for all”.

“The most critical issues for the association over the coming months will be strong leadership, organisational change and financial stability.”

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