Wednesday 18 September 2019

Pressure mounts on John Delaney over '€60,000 paid to his ex'

Board members 'in the dark' about reported payments to third party

John Delaney. Photo: PA
John Delaney. Photo: PA
Rea Walshe pictured with John Delaney
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

FAI board members are in the dark about a reported €60,000 payment to a third party in late 2013 and early 2014.

The 'professional fee' payments were reportedly recorded in the FAI's accountancy system and made out in the name of Susan Keegan.

A report in the 'Sunday Times' said Ms Keegan was ex-CEO John Delaney's girlfriend during this period.

However, Ms Keegan has denied receiving payment from Mr Delaney or the FAI.

The FAI declined to provide specific responses to questions about the alleged transaction - made up of at least three payments.

It was asked whether it was aware of the transactions and whether it could confirm whether the amount was paid. The FAI was also asked whether it was in possession of invoice records from that time period showing who was paid and for what services.

The Irish Independent understands the latest reports have come as a surprise to a number of individuals who were on the board at that point.

A board source said it was "definitely" not discussed at a full meeting of the association's main decision-making body.

FAI's John Delaney at the Aviva stadium. Photo: Gerry Mooney
FAI's John Delaney at the Aviva stadium. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Current board members have told friends they have been surprised by the volume of information that has emerged over the past month.

They have been advised not to comment publicly on the progress of enquiries.

An FAI statement said: "An independent investigation by the association into issues of concern to the board is continuing and further comment is not possible at this time."

The story follows on from the €100,000 bridging loan which Mr Delaney - who is currently on "gardening leave" from his executive vice president role - gave to his employer in 2017.

After initial statements from the FAI stating that the board was aware of all matters, it was subsequently confirmed that honorary secretary Michael Cody and then president Tony Fitzgerald were the only other two board members that were aware of the payment at the time.

Mr Cody resigned from his position last Monday along with honorary treasurer Eddie Murray, who has said his decision was influenced by his appearance at the Oireachtas Committee.

Mr Murray was unable to provide clarity on the number of FAI bank accounts.

Last Tuesday, it was confirmed third-party payments are being investigated as part of the review by global auditors Mazars into FAI affairs.

Sport Ireland's Kieran Mulvey said the terms of reference of that enquiry would be going to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement for approval.

The FAI's entire financial operation has come under scrutiny in the aftermath of the €100,000 loan and the associated controversy.

Sport Ireland will meet the FAI again later this week to discuss the progress of a Governance Review Group.

It is discussing the power structures and plotting a course towards an EGM where the entire board intends to step down.

Members of the FAI's finance committee have expressed concerns about how their business was operated.

According to one committee source, the scheduled meetings took place just before regular FAI board meetings with treasurer Mr Murray flanked by a member of the finance department and the CEO while reports were read out to the room.

It was standard for balance sheets and profit and loss statements to be handed out at the start of the meeting but then collected again before the attendees left the room, the source claimed.

Irish Independent

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