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Sunday 17 November 2019

Management no-show fuels row over FAI staff pay cuts

John Delaney has agreed to take a 10pc pay cut bringing his pay to €360,000, which is still
more than the pay of Italy and Spain's football chiefs combined. ARTHUR CARRON/COLLINS
John Delaney has agreed to take a 10pc pay cut bringing his pay to €360,000, which is still more than the pay of Italy and Spain's football chiefs combined. ARTHUR CARRON/COLLINS

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

A bitter row over pay cuts and job losses at the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has deepened after it failed to attend talks to resolve the dispute.

Talks at the Labour Relations Commission were adjourned yesterday as there was no sign of the sports body at a scheduled meeting.

SIPTU and management had agreed to work towards a resolution to the row at a meeting last week.

It is understood that the union asked that the association's accounts be examined by an independent assessor at yesterday's meeting.

The talks began after the FAI told staff they faced a 10pc pay cut, cuts to their pensions, and seven compulsory redundancies.

The savings were sought following a fall in ticket sales and hike in borrowing costs due to the redevelopment of the Lansdowne Road stadium.

Failure to make progress at negotiations is likely to lead to a further deterioration in relations between management and staff.

The staff, who are mainly administrative and coaches, have already rejected the cuts and warned they may take industrial action if they are enforced without agreement.

The workforce of over 150 staff was informed they faced a 10pc pay cut after chief executive John Delaney announced he would voluntarily take the same cut. The announcement at last month's AGM means his annual pay will drop from €400,000 to €360,000.

Unfair

However, he is still earning €160,000 more than the Taoiseach. He also earns more than soccer chiefs of Euro 2012 championship winners Spain and runners-up Italy combined.

Angel Maria Villar, who is Spain's football boss, earns €152,000 a year, while the annual pay of the FA boss in Italy Antonello Valentini is €150,000.

Most FAI staff are administrative and coaching workers on average yearly pay between €30,000 and €40,000. A 10pc pay cut would bring their earnings, which have already been reduced by previous pay cuts, to between €27,000 and €36,000.

Staff argue that it is unfair they should take a full 10pc cut.

In many recent pay cuts, wage reductions have been tiered so that lower-paid staff took a smaller cut. For instance, higher earners in the public service suffered reductions of over 10pc over two years ago, but those on lower pay took a cut of 6pc or less.

By the end of last year, the FAI had €64.3m debt, down from €67.2m the previous year. However, its interest bill rose to €4.8m last year from €2.1m in 2010.

The FAI declined to comment last night.

Irish Independent

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