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FAI say Association is making 'steady progress' as 2021 financial accounts are released


FAI chairman Roy Barrett. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

FAI chairman Roy Barrett. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

FAI chairman Roy Barrett. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

FAI chair Roy Barrett says the Association are making ‘steady progress’ after the release of 2021 accounts showed that the football body returned a surplus of €6.7m for the year although bank borrowings have risen slightly to €63m.

The release of the accounts ahead of July’s AGM in Dublin affirms the view that ‘reducing legacy debt continues to be a key long-term focus for the Association.’

However, a more encouraging sign – albeit coming from a low bar – is that the ‘material uncertainty’ disclosure inserted in the 2020 financial statements has been removed.

Barrett says in his chairperson’s report that after a turbulent period in the game’s history, the FAI remain a ‘long way from the light at the end of the tunnel’ but added ‘at least now we can see the light.’

He added: “Irish football has experienced more than our fair share of pain in the recent past so I feel we are entitled to enjoy this new sense of optimism.”

In last year’s release, the FAI’s directors stressed that the impact of the Covid-19 crisis and the inherent difficulties of predicting future cash inflows and expenditure had created that material uncertainty in respect of going concern for the foreseeable future.

They feel that threat has now been lifted, with the situation helped by €19m in Covid relief from the state, an amount that is being spread across the 2021 and 2022 accounts.

Of that amount, €12m was allocated to the loss of income and incremental expenditure incurred as a result of the pandemic shutdown, while the balance of €7m was divided between the League of Ireland and Women’s National League (€5m) and the various affiliates in the grassroots sector (€2m).

The impact of the reopening of stadiums is evidenced by a rise in match income from the 2020 nadir of €0.3m to a 2021 tally of €7.1m. Technical Department income also increased by €4m from €1.4m to €5.4m.

Attendance restrictions were in place for 2021 until the November visit of Portugal so the figure for 2022 should see an increase with four well-attended home games already in the rear-view mirror and two more games to come – although an incentivised season ticket package did also help the upturn.

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The FAI also remain on the lookout for a title sponsor for the senior men’s team. Sponsorship income did fall from €5.8m in 2020 to €5.6m in 2021. Barrett references a ‘feelgood factor’ around the results of the various international sides.

Turnover rose from €41.5m to €54.2m while the cash balance at the end of the year was €27.1m, a rise of €11m from 12 months previous. €9.1m of the aforementioned €19m Covid relief support is included in 2021 turnover figures.

Bank borrowings rose from €62.4m in 2020 to the 2021 amount of €63.5m. The FAI repaid a figure of €687,385 but an unspecified new loan of €1,711,230 is referenced.

Sport Ireland funding levels are unchanged at €5.8m

Notes contained within the accounts detail the continued fallout from the John Delaney-led era. It is stressed that the Association remain under investigation by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

Another flashpoint highlighted last year that was related to business practices under a previous regime was the ‘unprompted, prompted and voluntary disclosures to the Revenue Commissioners for the period 2015 to 2020’ which followed a review of activities in this department. This year’s report says the Directors ‘believe these statements include adequate provisions to address the underpayment of employment taxes and VAT liabilities.’

While staff costs remain around the €12m mark, the 2021 figures includes a figure of €203,284 paid out towards the early termination of contracts. The 2020 figure was €503,066.

It is also explained that the FAI received one protected disclosure in 2021 which was fully investigated.

The FAI board will face questions on the finer details of the document around their July summit.

They also sound a cautionary note related to lingering Covid-19 fears and also the impact of the broader financial picture in the country.

“Economic pressures stemming from inflationary growth across the globe presents a risk to the revenue streams due to lowering disposable income for all individuals in the country,” it is stated.

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