Wednesday 25 April 2018

FAI staff brace themselves for further cutbacks

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

FAI staff are bracing themselves for more cutbacks after an email from chief executive John Delaney warning them of tough times ahead due to a reduction in ticket income.

Delaney announced on Saturday that he will be taking a 10pc pay cut to bring his salary down from €400,000 a year to a figure of €360,000 per annum. However, Abbotstown employees fear a similar drop in their considerably lower salaries, or the possibility of further job losses, after receiving an ominous missive yesterday morning.

They were thanked by the CEO for all their hard work, before it was outlined that a lowering of ticket prices -- with a view to increasing crowds at the Aviva Stadium -- would have a knock-on effect. Therefore, more cuts are on the way, although no specific details were provided.

Speaking at the association's AGM in Donegal over the weekend, Delaney admitted that a challenging 18 to 24 months lay ahead. The FAI have a bank debt of €50m to pay arising from their contribution to the Aviva Stadium, while Delaney refused to discuss what monies were owed to other creditors.

Since the failure of their 10-year premium level scheme and a general fall in attendances at Irish international matches, a number of key staff have left the association.

They have included technical director Packie Bonner and high performance director Wim Koevermans -- the latter leaving to take over as manager of India with his FAI contract winding down.

The Irish Independent has learned that another valued member of staff is on the way to pastures new, with U-16 and U-17 manager John Morling set to leave his post and become academy director with Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion. The Englishman was also involved with the Emerging Talent Programme.

Morling's departure may impact on the future of U-19 boss Paul Doolin, whose deal is up for renewal. Delaney suggested at the weekend that news was imminent on the Dubliner's position, and his brief might be extended. Doolin could also emerge as a candidate for the Shamrock Rovers job if Stephen Kenny is shown the door.

A merging of roles has been a feature of FAI cost-cutting, with staff taking on responsibilities outside their original brief.

Delaney assured AGM delegates that the FAI would be free of bank debt by 2020, with a large part of that confidence drawn from centralised UEFA TV income that will come into play from 2014 onwards.

Generating substantial income in the intervening period will be difficult, with October's visit of Germany the only guaranteed big earner. The association will also have to begin meeting capital repayments to the bank. To date, they have been dealing with mounting interest costs.

Irish Independent

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