Sunday 22 April 2018

Revealed: FAI boss John Delaney proposed Pat Hickey get allowance of €60,000

But FAI boss told inquiry it was 'a matter of formality'

John Delaney and Pat Hickey at the Ireland-Sweden match at Euro 2016 Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile
John Delaney and Pat Hickey at the Ireland-Sweden match at Euro 2016 Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

FAI boss John Delaney proposed the annual payment of a €60,000 allowance for ex-OCI president Pat Hickey, the Irish Independent can reveal.

The 'honorarium' is the subject of criticism in the final report of Judge Carroll Moran into the ticketing fiasco which engulfed the Rio Olympics.

Mr Hickey received €360,000 from the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) between 2010 and his dramatic arrest at the Games last summer.

However, Mr Delaney told the inquiry his involvement in the creation of the payments was "a matter of formality".

In a written submission, the FAI chief said he was "not involved or privy to the preparation of the report" which recommended that Mr Hickey start receiving payments.

Under OCI rules the president cannot receive a salary for their work, but the honorarium was considered an allowance.

Pat Hickey Picture: Justin Farrelly
Pat Hickey Picture: Justin Farrelly

In his report, Mr Justice Moran questions the "propriety of the honorarium", and suggests the €60,000 figure was excessive.

The judge sought to identify its origins, which dated back to 2010 when the OCI's Executive Committee unanimously supported the idea of compensating Mr Hickey for what one former colleague described to the inquiry as his "service to the sport".

Read More: What Delaney told inquiry about money paid to Hickey

Mr Delaney confirmed to the judge that he was the "formal proposer" of the payment at a meeting of the OCI in June 2010. The FAI chief executive was second vice-president of the organisation at the time and continued to serve in that position until last October.

He was tipped to be a future president of the OCI.

At one point during last summer's controversy, a Brazilian judge authorised the seizure of Mr Delaney's passport even though he was not in the country. Mr Delaney issued a public statement saying he had "absolutely no role or involvement in the OCI's handling of ticketing arrangements".

Now, in a detailed explanation submitted to the inquiry by his legal team, Mr Delaney says his proposing of the allowance was "a matter of formality".

Mr Delaney said the idea "appears" to have been initially raised at a meeting in March 2010, which he did not attend.

At the June meeting, the OCI's executive members presented a report recommending a payment of €60,000 per annum.

"I was not involved or privy to the preparation of the report or the executive officers' deliberation in relation to the proposal.

"I first learned of the amount of the honorarium when it was put to the meeting," Mr Delaney said. He added that there was a "clear consensus" in favour of the payment and "I then formally proposed the resolution for approval".

While questioning the payment the judge acknowledges Mr Hickey "gave 23 years voluntary service to the OCI when no honorarium was paid".

The report quotes his solicitors as saying the payment and tax deductions were made after consultations with the OCI's auditors and Revenue Commissioners.

However, Mr Hickey's successor as president of the OCI, Sarah Keane, does not receive a similar allowance.

"In one of its first decisions the new board of the OCI (elected earlier this year) decided that no honorarium would be paid to any future president of the OCI and that no honorarium would be paid to Mr Hickey for 2016," a spokesperson for the OCI said.

The Irish Independent revealed yesterday that Mr Justice Moran's report has found no evidence Mr Hickey was involved in 'ticket touting' as alleged by Brazilian authorities. However, the report is heavily critical of his governance of the OCI.

Comments were not forthcoming from either Mr Hickey or Mr Delaney last night.

Irish Independent

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