Monday 16 September 2019

'John Delaney doesn’t need an inquiry to feed him the answer' - RTE panel slam FAI in wake of funding suspension

Under pressure: John Delaney, the former chief executive of the FAI, will face an Oirechtas committee on Wednesday. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Under pressure: John Delaney, the former chief executive of the FAI, will face an Oirechtas committee on Wednesday. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Tony Considine and Ryan Nugent

Richie Sadlier has said the FAI should be "embarrassed" after their Sport Ireland funding was suspended and that they need to speak with "absolute clarity" at tomorrow’s Oireachtas hearing.

"They need to speak with absolute clarity, answering all the questions that have come up over the last few weeks. They should be very embarrassed tonight that they’ve been sanctioned by Sport Ireland in this way and in how they’ve gone about doing their business that funding has been denied to Irish football," Sadlier said, speaking on RTE's Champions League coiverage.

"There’s a lot of questions. I don’t know how many statements we’ve had from the FAI and statements of support from people in Irish football but none of them have provided any clarity or information, particularly around the hundred grand issue."

Sadlier was also critical of the statements issued over the last two evenings by FAI President, Donal Conway, adding; “I wasn’t overly impressed with Donal Conway’s statement tonight. He said that he was disappointed with that.

"I would have preferred him to come out and admit total responsibility and say ‘how we behaved is way below the standards that an organisation like ours should be expected to.'

"There was a statement by Donal Conway yesterday that said a previous statement was at odds with what the board knew at the time. Where do you start with that?"

"Tomorrow we can’t have any fudged answers. We can’t hear anyone from the FAI saying ‘we can only answer that when the report has concluded its work’ or ‘there’s an inquiry going on’.

"They have all the answers, John Delaney will know absolutely the circumstances around why he was asked, we’re led to believe, for a personal loan to give to the organisation.  John Delaney doesn’t need an inquiry to feed him the answer to that question satisfactorily and I hope the committee won’t take that as a satisfactory answer to those questions.

"By the end of the meeting, how ever many hours it takes, there should be no grey areas, we should be able join all the dots." 

Senior RTE pundit Liam Brady said he's "not surprised at all"  that Sport Ireland has suspended funding to the FAI. Brady said serious answers are required to serious questions before funding is restored. Sport Ireland provide €2.7m a year to the FAI and have paid 50% of that amount for 2019 already.

"If they're in contravention  of the regulations and they haven't let them know that they were in serious financial problems, they've broken their regulations I think it's par for the course that Sport Ireland, and the way they've been treated by the FAI, getting letters late, not getting response to their questions.

"I think they've got every right to say that we're gonna withhold this money until they get serious answers to serious questions and that's probably going to come out tomorrow, so I'm not surprised at all," Brady said.

Former Ireland international Kevin Doyle said there should be "full and frank" answers at the Oireachtas committee.

"We don't want it batted away again. It's the FAI's own independent report, if it's all fine and everything just tell, tell us tomorrow and let's move on, if that's the case, if it is all straightforward.

"I don't know why we can't find out that information. Why do we have to wait on another independent report? We seem to have a lot of independent reports over the years." he said.

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