FAI and St Patrick’s Athletic in war of words over rejected grant

Club makes strong statement saying ‘general manager behaved absolutely appropriately’

Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

It seems the gloves are off in the war of words between St Patrick’s Athletic and the Football Association of Ireland after both organisations released statements on Saturday surrounding the club’s decision to reject an offer to apply for a strategic planning grant.

Such is the apparent animosity between the parties that the matter of the €5,000 grant has become a mere sideshow to an overall disagreement at the governing body’s management of the domestic league.

What makes the deterioration in the relationship all the more intriguing is that Garrett Kelleher, owner of St Patrick’s Athletic, had been previously supportive of FAI chief executive John Delaney by assisting him broker a debt writedown deal for the association in 2014 and defending the secretive €5 million payment received from former Fifa President Sepp Blatter which came to light a year later.

On this particular issue which brought tensions to a head, the FAI claim Saints general manager Frank Kinsella was an integral part of talks on behalf of the Premier Clubs Association (PCA) that led to the announcement of a €100,000 funding package for the 20 clubs on the day of the FAI annual general meeting on July 30th.

“At no point did Frank Kinsella speak on behalf of himself or his club to voice concerns or otherwise with the funding grant,” says Fran Gavin, the FAI’s director of competitions.

“Nor did he declare that he didn’t want to be part of this latest development in what is an ongoing process.”

The St Pat’s board, however, insist their delegate was deployed to report back on the meeting, one also attended by barrister Michael Cush representing the PCA. From this point, the club board – led by Kelleher – completely rejected the offer on Friday, as had Derry City the previous day.

“Our general manager behaved absolutely appropriately,” read the club’s latest statement which went on to fire a scud at the FAI’s own controversial corporate governance structures. “If the FAI considers a process where an executive brings proposals to his board for discussion and decision as “extraordinary”, then that is a reflection on the way in which the FAI conducts its business, not on St Patrick’s Athletic.

“What prevails with the FAI is an approach whereby it decides everything and dictates policy with the occasional public relations flurry to try create a public image that its senior executives are committed to change and to improvement.

“Our game is in crisis. That is why the clubs established the PCA so that the Premier League clubs would consider their responsibilities and attempt to engage with the governing body with a view to effecting change. Ten months since we brought these issues forward nothing material has happened.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.