Saturday 24 March 2018

FAI debt increases to €51.2m


FAI chief executive John Delaney
FAI chief executive John Delaney

John Fallon

FIFA's €5m 'Hand of God' payment and the commencement of UEFA's centralised television deal have failed to reduce the FAI's debt mountain, which now stands at €51.2m.

Delegates yesterday received the latest accounts for the governing body, to year-end 2014, ahead of their annual general meeting on July 18.

Since the association's 10-year premium ticket scheme flopped in tandem with their commitment of €72m towards the cost of rebuilding Lansdowne Road, interest payments on the resultant borrowings have seeped cash from the game at a time when sectors such as the League of Ireland have seen their prize money slashed.

Including the €5.4m shelled out during last year in "bank and other charges relating principally to borrowings to support the construction of the stadium", over €22m has been lost to Irish football since 2010.

This is despite the FAI securing a debt write-down during 2013 which cut the liabilities by €11.7m.

While turnover increased by a modest 4pc to €38m, primarily due to the UEFA television deal which guarantees an annual income of €10m, the figure still represents a 16pc drop from 2011 when €45m was generated.

The retained surplus for the 12 months plummeted from €8.3m in 2013 to €1.45m before development grants to affiliate bodies were paid out.

These amounted to €1.09m, down by €33,500 on the previous year, to leave a net surplus of just €360,000.

Chief executive John Delaney's confidential €5m deal with FIFA arising from the World Cup play-off defeat in Paris was converted from a loan to income at the end of 2013.

The FAI, however, is still indebted to UEFA to the tune of at least €5m.

In a cover sheet accompanying the accounts, Delaney and FAI president Tony Fitzgerald cautioned members that results by Martin O'Neill's senior team in their concluding Euro 2016 qualifiers during the autumn will determine the financial picture of the association.

"The association does not budget for qualification for major tournaments and we still remain in contention to do so, with our games in September and October likely to influence the overall position further for 2015 and 2016," they stated.

Irish Independent

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