Thursday 23 January 2020

'We did not want to see our parent body suffer' - SFAI confirm €50k Aviva corporate box deal

The Aviva Stadium. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
The Aviva Stadium. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Harry Clarke

The Schoolboys Football Association of Ireland has confirmed it spent €50k for a five-year lease on a corporate box in the Aviva Stadium.

The Irish Sun last week reported that the association, which oversees all schoolboy football in the country, made the purchase last year "as a sponsorship and marketing tool".

The large sum going towards the troubled FAI and not into grassroots football raised concerns in some quarters with Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway saying: "I certainly don't think I would be comfortable seeing any money channelled through that particular wing of the organisation."

In a lengthy statement issued this evening, the SFAI confirmed they entered a five-year lease 12 months ago at a cost of €10k per year.

"The Schoolboys Football Association of Ireland wishes to address concerns relating to the purchase of a five year lease on a corporate box at the Aviva Stadium where there was an outlay of €50,000," read a statement.

"This figure is correct and the arrangement was concluded just over 12 months ago. The premium was for €10k per year for five years. The arrangement replaced the agreement that was in place at the time which was also for €10,000 per year which provided four tickets to the Jack Charlton Lounge.

"The new arrangement was for 12 tickets - an increase of eight tickets on the previous contract.

"This deal came about at a time when the Football Association of Ireland had well publicised cash-flow problems.

"The approach was initiated by the then CEO John Delaney, but before it could be ratified, it was brought to the SFAI Executive where it was unanimously approved."

The SFAI also stated that many other FAI affiliates were approached about similar deals to help the finances of the FAI.

The deal was met with universal agreement by the SFAI who "at all times, acted in the best interests of the schoolboy game and has appropriate governance and accountability measures in place".

"The SFAI, like many of the FAI affiliates did not want to see their parent body suffer, and in a desire to assist the national association overcome the financial problem, at that time, the Executive Committee provided the agreed funding," added the statement.

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