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Sports funding at risk in NAMA move on the developers

MAJOR sporting events and universities could have their funding hit by new NAMA rules preventing property developers investing in sponsorship.

NAMA has described this type of activity as "non-core expenditure" and developers have been warned that they must "maximise" their repayments on loans.

Previously high-flying property developers were warned that they must slash their living expenses as NAMA rejected a number of business plans put forward.

It is understood that several contained unreasonable assessments of how much developers and their spouses expect to live on once their loans are being managed by the agency.

"We are not sentimental about the borrowers," NAMA chairman Frank Daly said at the time.

And now the agency is moving against corporate expenditure which is likely to have widespread implications.

"Where relevant, we are directing the borrowers to unwind any commitments to non-core expenditure as quickly as possible and subject to contractual obligations,'' the agency said.

"We are carefully reviewing the business plans being prepared by developers in order to maximise the repayment of loans to the taxpayer to ensure that no excessive expenditure is involved." It is not yet clear whether the move against sponsorships will involve all developers or just those with non-performing loans.

Over the past few years some of the largest property and development companies have been actively sponsoring a whole range of events in the sporting and academic world.

Treasury Holdings, which is controlled by Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett, provide backing to a number of events, including college rugby and third-level qualifications in property.

Building firm Michael McNamara and Co, controlled until recently by Bernard McNamara, has also sponsored academic chairs at TCD.

Meanwhile, Sean Mulryan's Ballymore Group, is associated with various racing events, with his Ballymore Properties is widely known for its sponsorship of a number of races at Cheltenham.

The latest development comes as it was revealed that developer Joe O'Reilly, famous for developing the Dundrum Town Centre, has opened negotiations with NAMA about his borrowings.