Most FAI board members had been unaware John Delaney gave it a €100,000 loan
MOST of the members of the board of the Football Association of Ireland were unaware that former chief executive John Delaney had provided the organisation with a €100,000 loan in 2017, TDs have been told.
Despite this, the FAI released a statement last month saying that the board was kept fully informed of the matter at all times.
FAI president and chairman of the board Donal Conway was challenged on the issue when he appeared before the Oireachtas Sport Committee today.
He confirmed that not all members of the board had been aware of the loan until this year.
Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy referred to the press release where it was said that the FAI board was fully informed about the ‘bridging loan’ when the Association experienced a short-term cash flow issue.
Mr Troy said: “Who issued that statement because it’s clearly inaccurate?”
Mr Conway said it would have been issued by the communications department.
Asked by Mr Troy who signed off on it he replied: “The communications department would have gotten direction at that stage… It wasn’t issued off the board. It was issued internally.”
Further pressed on the issue and asked if he had approved the press release, Mr Conway said: “I did not sign off on the statement”.
Later Fine Gael TD and committee chairman Fergus O’Dowd argued that the fact that some people on the board didn’t know about the loan was an “ethical issue” that was “at the core of the problem”.
He asked if the FAI would have an independent outside forensic audit undertaken.
Mr Conway said two consultancy firms are conducting reviews.
“Between the Grant Thornton and Mazers investigations, they will be very, very thorough examinations of the FAI,” he said.
Mr O’Dowd repeated the question about a forensic audit on three occasions by didn’t get an answer.
He asked why the FAI didn’t go to Sport Ireland for assistance when it had short-term cash-flow issues in 2017.
Mr Conway said: “We came up with a solution Mr chairman… we have acknowledged that we should have alerted Sport Ireland”.
Ahead of a break for lunch, Mr O’Dowd suggested the representatives of the FAI think about “regime change”.