Friday 23 August 2019

FAI yet to respond to Oireachtas Committee, meeting will now take place on April 10

Chief Executive of the Football Association of Ireland John Delaney in the stands during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group D match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Chief Executive of the Football Association of Ireland John Delaney in the stands during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group D match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Wayne O’Connor

The FAI will not meet with the Oireachtas Sport committee until April 10 after it failed to respond to requests for information about corporate governance structures and a loan made to the association by former CEO John Delaney.

The FAI had asked for the meeting to be brought forward to April 3 but this will not happen because the committee said it has not received the information it requested from the FAI.

Committee chairman Fergus O’Dowd this morning urged the FAI to respond urgently to its correspondence “seeking clarification of certain matters and further information on other matters”.

The committee wrote to the FAI seeking urgent clarifications about a review of the FAI structures before it is due to meet with Mr Delaney and the FAI next month.

It also asked for information relating to the €100,000 payment Delaney made to the association in April 2017. The FAI has said this was a “bridging loan” used to help a cash flow problem. Delaney was repaid the €100,000 two months later.

However, Mr O’Dowd said the committee has not received a response from the FAI.

“The request we got back [from the FAI] was to have the meeting brought forward to April 3.

“Our committee has agreed to schedule a meeting on that date with Sport Ireland because Sport Ireland is the body responsible for governance, oversight and scrutiny of sporting bodies,” he said.

“Our scheduled meeting with the FAI, the committee, has agreed will proceed on April 10 as planned. The committee, through our clerk on March 22, requested from the FAI the following:

“We sought conformation as a matter of urgency the date in early April when the FAI Governance review would be completed and conformation that the outcomes of that review will be brought to the attention of this committee will in advance of our meeting.

“It was also noted from public statements that the FAI were willing to meet [Sport] Minister [Shane] Ross and Sport Ireland to gove more detail on a bridging loan from the chief executive to the FAI in 2017. And the request that full and comprehensive detail of that matter would be forwarded to the committee well in advance of the meeting.

“We have received no reply to that correspondence and we now ask that the FAI would supply this information urgently and at the earliest possible opportunity to our committee well in advance of our proposed meeting on April 10.”

Delaney stood down as chief executive last weekend to move in to the position of executive vice president. The FAI has conformed he will attend the Oireachtas hearing.

Meanwhile, the Oireachtas Sports Committee is to hire the service of corporate governance expert ahead of its hearings with John Delaney and the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).

At a private meeting this morning, committee members held a lengthy discussion on the much-anticipated questioning of Mr Delaney on the €100,000 bridging loan he gave the FAI.

TDs agreed that outside expertise was required to prepare the committee for the hearing where the former FAI chief executive will be asked to explain the loan and other corporate governance matters.

Sports Committee members suggested seeking the advice of Director of the UCD Centre for Corporate Governance Professor Niamh Brennan.

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