John Delaney says he lent FAI €100,000 due to ‘cash flow issue’

‘This is the only occasion on which I provided the Association with a short-term loan’

The FAI issued a statement describing details of a loan received from its chief executive John Delaney. Photograph: INPHO/Donall Farmer

The FAI issued a statement describing details of a loan received from its chief executive John Delaney. Photograph: INPHO/Donall Farmer

 

FAI chief executive John Delaney has said a €100,000 payment he made to the organisation was “in the best interests of the association at a time when immediate funding was needed.”

In a statement released on Sunday evening, mr Delaney said the payment in April 2017, which he has previously said was a short term bridging loan, “had no impact on the full financial position or performance of the association for the year. It was a matter of timing.

“The monies received from EURO 2016 were utilised in that year’s budgets as outlined in the financial report to the 2017 AGM,” he said. “As CEO, I hold regular meetings with our Director of Finance regarding the state of our finances and all items arising are conveyed to our board at our monthly meetings.

“This was the case in 2017 when I acted in good faith for the benefit of the FAI and will continue to do so.”

News of the payment first broke in the Sunday Times, which reported Mr Delaney failed to secure a High Court injunction on Saturday evening to prevent publication of the story.

The newspaper also reported a payment of €100,000 by the organisation to its chief executive two months later, with a remittance document relating to the payment, dated June 16th. The suggestion is that this amounted to repayment of the loan.

A statement issued by the FAI on Saturday said the payment was a bridging loan, made to help the association through “a very short-term cash flow issue”, and that it was the only occasion on which Mr Delaney had made such a loan.

The statement also said the chief executive had donated back his €160,000 earnings from Uefa to the FAI. In the Sunday evening statement, the FAI pointed to a number of reforms it has made at corporate level in recent years. It said a review of its executive governance and senior management structures is expected in early April.

Corporate governance experts told The Irish Times loans such as that described by Mr Delaney to organisations like the FAI were “unprecedented”.

“In an organisation like the FAI, which is not a commercial organisation as such, it’s a national governing body of a sport, for an executive or director to be making a loan to such an organisation is unprecedented,” said Alan McDonnell of consultancy firm Good Governance Solutions. He said a more usual route would be to turn to members, Sport Ireland, or a commercial lender.

Professor Niamh Brennan of the UCD school of business said she would have expected the loan to be disclosed in the FAI’s annual accounts. “From a technical point of view, it’s what’s called a related party transaction, so you would expect it to be disclosed.”

Mr Delaney’s salary, currently understood to be €360,000 plus expenses and other benefits, has long been a point of controversy, particularly since the combination of a failed premium ticket scheme and the wider financial downturn plunged the association into financial difficulty almost a decade ago as it sought to finance its share of the cost of redeveloping Lansdowne Road.

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