Oireachtas committee still awaiting information from FAI

Board members believed to have discussed Delaney’s future at some length

John Delaney: at the Aviva Stadium for the European qualifier against Georgia. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times.

John Delaney: at the Aviva Stadium for the European qualifier against Georgia. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times.

 

As the FAI’s board met again to discuss the ongoing controversy surrounding its finances and the decision at the weekend to move John Delaney to a newly created position within the organisation, Fergus O’Dowd TD said that the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport is still waiting on information it has requested from the association.

It is believed, but not confirmed, that board members discussed Delaney’s future at some length at their latest meeting, held at Abbotstown on Wednesday afternoon, with the question raised of whether his continued employment by the organisation is tenable and the possibility of an exit after Euro 2020 said to have been floated.

Holding key positions in both the FAI and Uefa while a part of next year's tournament is staged in Dublin would represent something of a personal triumph for Delaney who oversaw the association’s campaign to have four games played at the Aviva.

While a number of board members might want to him to depart the association rather sooner than the summer of next year, allies are believed to feel he deserves to have a prominent role in the tournament.

Delaney himself is most likely to be looking well beyond that again with the 51-year-old obliged to stand for re-election to Uefa’s executive committee in the spring of 2021 and needing to be still in a senior executive role at the association here in order to get his name on the ballot paper.

He and a number of other FAI executives are due to go before the Dáil committee on April 10th, O’Dowd has confirmed, in order to answer questions about the finances and corporate governance of the organisation. Members of the committee are due to question John Treacy of Sport Ireland the previous week, on April 3rd.

The Fine Gael TD says that one of the reasons the association’s offer to come in on the earlier date was declined is that information which the committee sought regarding the outside review of the FAI’s senior management structures has not been supplied.

“We sought confirmation as a matter of urgency the date in early April when the FAI governance review would be completed and confirmation that the outcomes of that review will be brought to the attention of this committee will in advance of our meeting.

Bridging loan

“It was also noted from public statements that the FAI were willing to meet Minister Ross and Sport Ireland to give more detail on a bridging loan from the chief executive to the FAI in 2017 and a request was made that full and comprehensive detail of that matter would be forwarded to the committee well in advance of the meeting.

“We have received no reply to that correspondence and we now ask that the FAI would supply this information urgently and at the earliest possible opportunity to our committee well in advance of our proposed meeting on April 10th.”

The committee consists of 11 members, seven TDs and four Senators. Catherine Murphy of the Social Democrats and O’Dowd’s Fine Gael party colleague, Noel Rock, have both made it clear recently that they believe both the FAI generally and Delaney, in particular, have many questions to answer.

Amongst the key issues likely to be brought up are the €100,000 cheque written by Delaney to the association in April of 2017 which has since been described as a loan to get the organisation over an especially acute cash-flow crisis, the full extent of the former chief executive’s remuneration and a long list of corporate governance issues out at Abbotstown.

To date, there has been no serious suggestion that members of the association’s board will be obliged to answer for their part in the various controversies despite calls for them to do so.

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