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Sunday 18 August 2019

'Unless the stable is cleared, there will be no funding' - Sport Ireland reiterate stance on new FAI board

Chair of Sport Ireland Kieran Mulvey with the organisation’s chief executive John Treacy. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Chair of Sport Ireland Kieran Mulvey with the organisation’s chief executive John Treacy. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Sport Ireland has reiterated that they will be witholding FAI funding until a brand new board is instated - following confirmation from the Association that current president Donal Conway was nominated unopposed for the role again.

Chairperson of Sport Ireland Kieran Mulvey said the government body is awaiting final reports on the FAI.

"The state has made it clear that unless the stable is cleared, there will be no funding. We are withholding our grant until we are sure that the FAI are governed properly, that a clean bill of health has been given to them, and we are waiting on reports from Deloitte, the ODCE and KOSI," Mr Mulvey said.

The government body said they were "disappointed" to learn that two members of the current board of the FAI would go forward for re-election to an incoming board at their AGM next week.

Donal Conway. Photo: Sportsfile
Donal Conway. Photo: Sportsfile

The FAI confirmed on Monday that current president Donal Conway had been nominated unopposed for the role of president on a new board, and also that current FAI vice-president Noel Fitzroy was one of three nominees for that same position.

Minister for Sport Shane Ross wrote to Conway on Tuesday to ask that he withdraw his nomination for the presidency, demanding that the FAI stick to the promise, made in April, that the entire board would step down, though the FAI countered with the claim that a report by a Governance Review Group recommended that one, or two, current directors stay on with an interim board for a year.

"It's on the record that we were of the view that no one from the board should go forward for the new board," Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy said at an Oireachtas committee hearing today.

"We met the FAI last Friday, we articulated to them very clearly that it would be be best if no one went forward, it would be better if all positions should run for election and there should be a process around every position, so there is disappointment.

"But it's up to the memberships of the organisations to emerge, the membership needs to take responsibility, someone needs to step forward. Donal Conway did show leadership but now is the time to hand it over with an entirely new board."

Read more here: Path clear for Conway to extend stay as FAI president

In his opening statement, Mr Treacy said Sport Ireland was aware of an investigation from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE).

"Sport Ireland understands that the ODCE investigation is serious and will be very substantial," he said.

"The Board of Sport Ireland will continue to monitor these items as they develop and progress. A decision to restore funding will only be considered when the structures, controls and governance arrangements in place within the FAI are appropriate.

"The Board must also be satisfied that the FAI are equipped to ensure ongoing compliance with the Terms and Conditions of Grant Approval," he added.

Read more here: FAI will defy Ross to keep Conway on as president

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