Wednesday 21 August 2019

Government must drive 'independent and forensic audit' of the FAI – Dáil told

A general view of the Aviva Stadium. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
A general view of the Aviva Stadium. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
John Downing

John Downing

The Government must ensure an “independent and forensic audit” of all spending by the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).

Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, said many people at grassroots level in soccer are very angry at the lack of information coming from the FAI about its finances.

"There has been been too much cloud to date. We have simply been told nothing," he said.

Mr Martin said the FAI rightly received large grants of taxpayers’ money and also got a lot of money from the public. He urged an immediate audit being forced through by the state agency, Sport Ireland.

The Fianna Fáil leader said the FAI auditors, Deloitte, had today revealed shortcomings in the organisation’s accounts. "It doesn’t get any more serious than that," Mr Martin said.

He said a major audit was "a once and for all chance to clean things up" - and could pave the way for a new system of FAI corporate governance.

Replying the Taoiseach said the Government shared concerns about FAI finances and issues about corporate governance. He said these issues were being examined by Sport Ireland and may also be examined under company law by the Office of the Director of Corporate Governance.

But Mr Varadkar said the FAI was not a state body and its staff were not civil servants.  He also warned that an excessive government inquiry could prejudice other investigations over time.

The Taoiseach said the Government saw funding sport as an important role and hoped things can be dealt with.

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