St Patrick’s Athletic chairman Garrett Kelleher says he was frustrated by what he claims was the FAI’s refusal of an external offer for financial aid for a restart of the League of Ireland season.
And the Irish Independent has learned that Dundalk chairman Bill Hulsizer offered assistance to the football body in an attempt to help Irish football through its latest difficulties.
It’s believed that Hulsizer – whose son Matt is the billionaire co-founder of Dundalk’s owners Peak6 – had indicated he was willing to underwrite some of the costs involved in the FAI’s return-to-play proposal but the Association opted against the plan.
Sources have indicated that it’s not the first time that Hulsizer has engaged with the FAI about putting up a guarantee or a loan to help with their overall financial position.
Kelleher does not specify where the offer of support had come from in his lengthy letter criticising interim FAI CEO Gary Owens and his deputy Niall Quinn for the modest compensation package presented to league clubs.
Kelleher, who admitted having a "heated exchange" with Owens in a meeting last Friday, was scathing of the duo, saying "any more wrong or naive moves made by the executives could do even longer lasting damage" to the League of Ireland (LOI).
It’s understood that the FAI board members are reluctant to provide a cash guarantee until there is more certainty on details of relief from the Government and FIFA which is eventually expected to materialise.
Owens and Quinn are set for more talks with clubs on Wednesday, with work to do to win over clubs who feel it would be too risky to return on the basis of what they know at this stage.
With the Moldovan FA now planning for their league to resume in the coming days, the League of Ireland will be left as the only summer league on the continent without a date for a restart.
Kelleher revealed that he had been in touch with contacts at UEFA level to express his unhappiness with the situation where, three months after Covid-19 led to the halting of the 2020 season, clubs have still no date for a resumption of the league.
"Over the weekend, I have learned about attempts by others to help financially which have been rejected and have reached out to UEFA and other association reps. Much damage has been done," Kelleher said in his letter to three named FAI directors.
The FAI declined to comment on Kelleher’s claim.
Tomorrow read Garrett Kelleher's scathing 1200-word letter raising concerns around the performance of Gary Owens and Niall Quinn, Dan McDonnell's analysis of where this leaves the FAI's top duo and Aidan Fitzmaurice's profile of St Patrick's Athletic chairman Kelleher.