Donal Conway nominated unopposed to retain FAI presidency

John Treacy says ODCE investigation into FAI governance is ‘serious’ and ‘substantial’

FAI president Donal Conway is one of the longest surviving members of the old board having joined back in September 2005. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

FAI president Donal Conway is one of the longest surviving members of the old board having joined back in September 2005. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy has described the ongoing investigation by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) into corporate governance issues at the FAI as “serious,” and “very substantial”.

The suggestion, made in his opening address to the Joint Committee on transport, Tourism and Sport, to be delivered on Wednesday when he and other representatives of Sport Ireland are due to appear before the committee, is that the ODCE report could have serious consequences for those who, under company law, had a responsibility to ensure the association was properly run.

Treacy will tell members of the committee that KOSI, the accountancy firm recruited by Sport Ireland to conduct a forensic audit of the association’s accounts, is on course to deliver its report in September. In the meantime, he says, Sport Ireland’s power to review the accounts of all of the organisations it funds has been extended so that it is no longer limited to examining how the public funds provided have been used.

Amongst the new obligations to have been placed on national governing bodies in the wake of the difficulties at the FAI and the revelation that John Delaney had a €2 million bonus clause in his contract, is a requirement that they reveal the terms and conditions on which their chief executive is employed.

Treacy will tell the committee’s members that Sport Ireland sees the adoption of the reforms proposed by the Governance Review Group as a key requirement of the FAI if it is to have its public funding restored.

He expresses the hope that the reforms will receive the required two thirds majority at this weekend’s EGM in Dunboyne and the AGM to follow the follow Saturday in Trim. He suggests that in that recent events all tend to point towards “a palpable appetite for change”.

Despite that, the FAI confirmed on Monday that current president Donal Conway, a director of the association since 2005, has been nominated unopposed to the presidency for the coming year.

Conway had made known his intention to run again despite the clearly stated preference of Minister for Sport, Shane Ross, that he and all of the other current board members depart. The retired schoolteacher has made it clear that despite having been on board for almost the entirety of John Delaney’s decade and a half as chief executive, he believes he is the right person to deliver the proposed reform.

Noel Fitzroy, meanwhile, has also been nominated to run again for vice president. He seems likely to face an election for the position although the situation is confused.

FAI council member for the armed forces Gerry McAnaney and former Waterford representative on council, Paul Cooke, have both also been nominated to run against him having previously put their names forward for Honorary Secretary and Treasurer respectively. Those positions would be abolished if the new rules are adopted but all of the nominations would, according to the association, be valid if they are not and so it is likely to be next week before it becomes clear who will actually be running for what.

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