Tuesday 23 April 2019

New concerns raised around FAI in protected disclosure - including questions about John Giles foundation

New allegations after complaint made to Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement

A general view of the Aviva Stadium. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
A general view of the Aviva Stadium. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement has received a detailed protected disclosure outlining a number of new concerns about governance at the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).

The Sunday Independent understands a similar letter has also been sent to the Charities Regulator and the Revenue Commissioner.

The author of the letter, who cannot be named for legal reasons, makes a series of allegations surrounding corporate governance at the FAI and other entities linked to the association.

It includes questions surrounding how funds linked to the John Giles Foundation are operated.

It also raises concerns about the transfer of funds between the FAI and a business linked to the Aviva Stadium.

In addition, there are allegations relating to the investment of FAI funds.

The author of the complaint also notes that questions were raised at the Oireachtas Sports Committee about the FAI's inability to declare whether they have a tax clearance certificate, which should now be answered.

The complaint follows weeks of controversy surrounding corporate governance at the FAI after it emerged John Delaney gave the football governing body €100,000 while he was chief executive. Soon after details of the loan were published, Mr Delaney stepped down as chief executive. However, he was subsequently appointed to the newly created role of FAI executive vice president.

Sport Ireland sought an explanation for the loan from the FAI but decided to withdraw funding when it did not receive satisfactory responses to their questions.

Last week, Mr Delaney appeared before the Sports Committee where he was expected to answer questions related to the loan and other financial issues at the FAI.

Mr Delaney, whose future with the FAI was in doubt last night, said he was told at a meeting in April 2017 that the FAI's €1.5m overdraft limit would be exceeded if all their creditors cashed their cheques and bank transfers.

He said he was surprised by the situation and gave his financial director a cheque payable to the FAI for €100,000 as a "precautionary measure".

Mr Delaney was later told the cheque would have to be lodged by the association. He was repaid in June 2017.

"I accept that the overdraft limit issue arose on my watch as chief executive officer. I wish that it had not happened but I acted in the best interests of the association," he said.

Mr Delaney said he was precluded from answering further questions on advice of his solicitors.

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