Sunday 26 January 2020

Bonus costs eat into FAI's €11m Euros haul


John Delaney
John Delaney

John Fallon

An unprecedented outlay of €6.5m - including a multi-million bonus payment to players and staff - shrunk the FAI's Euro 2016 net prize-money to €4.5m.

Delegates of the association will today receive copies of the 2016 accounts showing a record turnover of €50.4m and overall liabilities of €39m as they ponder the possibility of becoming debt-free by 2020.

Completing the mission that Ireland have begun well and reaching the World Cup next year would certainly help in clearing the mortgage generated by the FAI's abject attempt at financing their €74m share of the Lansdowne Road redevelopment costs in 2010 through premium ticket sales.

Chipping While the FAI may insist otherwise, the inflow accrued from reaching the last two European Championship finals was central to chipping away at their debt mountain, highlighting the importance of reaching Russia in 2018.

UEFA awarded all 24 participants at last year's finals in France an initial €8m, which in Ireland's case was enhanced by another €3m thanks to reaching the last-16 stage.

The true costs arising from their last jaunt only came to light yesterday and the €6.5m shelled out is not primarily down to travel expenses and staying at the plush Versailles Castle on the outskirts of Paris for three weeks during the tournament.

Instead, it was bonus payments accounting for the main outflow.

An indication as to the extent of the fees dished out for qualifying and participating in the Euros was provided in the 2015 accounts.

The increase in salary costs by €2.7m to €12.4m was attributed to "exceptional costs associated with qualifying for Euro 2016."

Speaking yesterday, FAI finance director Eamon Breen explained that they had split the income and expenditure relating to Euro 2016 over the two years for accounting purposes. And, as the squad and staff stood to gain from progressing in the finals, they received further bonuses following the tournament.

Chief executive John Delaney was eager not to provide any clues as to the actual figure negotiated for the players by Ciaran Medlar or the staff, including Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane.

"It wouldn't be right to get into a breakdown of costs because there's the bonuses for players in there," he noted.

Given the lengths taken by the Ireland women's squad in April to receive merely a nominal match fee, yesterday's figures make for stark reading.

That disparity influences to a degree the frustration of the FAI's development officers, who are still battling for the reversal of pay cuts imposed in 2012.

While SIPTU, representing a large portion of the coaches, have requested the Labour Court to adjudicate on the matter, the FAI have engaged veteran negotiator Peter McLoone to help broker a settlement and Delaney met with a delegation of staff at FAI headquarters yesterday.


"That's an internal matter," replied the chief executive to questions. "There is a process and I would be very confident that those matters don't go to that extent (Labour Court).

"I've just come from meetings with team leaders and development officers. I'm hopeful these matters can be resolved without getting into the public domain."

Meanwhile, Martin O'Neill and James McClean will discover by the end of July whether they face suspensions for their outburst against referee David Fernández Borbalán following Ireland's 1-1 draw with Austria.

O'Neill labelled the referee's display "very poor" and McClean went further, claiming Austria "had a 12th man today".

"We made our submissions to FIFA last Friday and will know the outcome after their meeting on July 20," he said.

"Our submission is very much based on people regretting what was said and all that would come from that. I think that's a pretty fair position for everybody."

The FAI refused to be drawn on the controversy surrounding the new U-15 Airtricity League, saying that high performance director Ruud Dokter would be dealing with that on Monday.

Irish Independent

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