Tuesday 25 April 2017

Fifa payment of €5m 'fully accounted for', says FAI chief

GAA director general Páraic Duffy, FAI boss John Delaney, and IRFU chief Philip Browne as they arrived to attend the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport at Leinster House yesterday. Photo: Tom Burkefor
GAA director general Páraic Duffy, FAI boss John Delaney, and IRFU chief Philip Browne as they arrived to attend the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport at Leinster House yesterday. Photo: Tom Burkefor
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

FAI chief executive John Delaney has insisted a €5m payment from Fifa was "fully accounted for" by the organisation.

Quizzed over the issue for the first time by TDs, Mr Delaney revealed that the money - paid following Thierry Henry's infamous handball against Ireland in 2009 - was given to the FAI in two separate payments.

Describing the issue as "contentious", Mr Delaney said the funds were fully scrutinised by the FAI's auditors.

"All that money was properly accounted for and signed off by the auditors," Mr Delaney told the Oireachtas committee on Transport, Sport and Tourism.

He said that the money was split, with €1m being paid initially, followed by a payment of €4m at a later date.

Revelations in 2015 that the FAI received €5m from Fifa plunged the organisation into chaos.

There was major pressure on Mr Delaney to appear in front of the same Oireachtas committee, however, the hearing never took place.

It was revealed at the time that Mr Delaney contacted committee members expressing his view that his planned appearance would distract from the upcoming Ireland match against Scotland.

The issue of the payment arose yesterday during a sitting that also heard from GAA director general Páraic Duffy and IRFU CEO Philip Browne.

All three criticised proposals to introduce gender quotas of 30pc at board level in Irish sport.

Mr Browne likened such moves to tokenism.

"The suggestion by the Government that it is considering the imposition of gender quotas on sports organisations is a concern for the simple reason that female rugby is still in its infancy and it will be difficult to find suitably qualified female candidates with the accumulated rugby wisdom and skills set to fill such quotas with retreating to tokenism," the rugby boss said.

Mr Duffy said state funding for the development of GAA in Dublin decreased since former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern left office.

"Just on the issue of funding, and the funding for Dublin that you referred to specifically. That money originally, when it was allocated to the GAA, was allocated specifically for Dublin, for the development of hurling and football, it was when Bertie Ahern was Taoiseach.

"And, to be fair, it has been really successful in terms of broadening the participation of the games in Dublin," Mr Duffy said.

He said there would be a reduction in the funding going to clubs in Dublin in the future so as to fund clubs elsewhere.

Irish Independent

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