Crisis-hit FAI owes Gardaí €360,000 for policing major matches

Crisis-hit FAI owes Gardaí €360,000 for policing major matches

The crisis-hit Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has left the Gardaí almost €360,000 out of pocket over its failure last year to pay any money for policing operations around major international soccer matches in Dublin.

A spokesman for the Gardaí today confirmed that “total fees outstanding to An Garda Síochána from the FAI for policing events is €357,244.95”.

He stated: “An Garda Síochána are continuing to pursue the recovery of the outstanding sum.”

In a recent written Dáil reply, the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan confirmed that in the year to December 12 last, the FAI made ‘zero’ payments to the Gardaí for non-public service duties.

The Garda spokesman confirmed today that no payment has been received from the FAI since December 12.

He stated: “This outstanding debt has had no impact on the Garda budget.”

The bulk of the monies would concern policing international matches at the Aviva stadium and last year - the senior Republic of Ireland team played four Euro 2020 qualifiers at the stadium.

The matches were against Georgia on March 26, Gibraltar on June 10, Switzerland on September 5 and Denmark on November 18.

In addition, the Republic also played friendly matches at the Aviva against Bulgaria in September and New Zealand in November.

GAA and IRFU payments

In contrast to the ‘nil’ payments from the FAI, Minister Flanagan stated that in the year to December 12 last, the GAA had made payments totalling €947,939 to the Gardai for non-public service duties, while the FAI’s co-owners of the Aviva, the IRFU, had made payments totalling €247,627 to the Gardaí last year.

In his written Dáil reply to Deputy Tommy Broughan, Minister Flanagan stated that the cost to the event holder is determined by the number of Gardaí deployed and the hours they are deployed for.

He stated:

An Garda Síochána issues invoices to all relevant event holders.

He added: “It is not always possible to define the demarcation line between public and non-public duty and it is not always feasible for An Garda Síochána to recover the total policing cost of any particular event as the over-riding concern of An Garda Síochána is public safety.

On the failure by the FAI to pay over the outstanding monies, the Garda spokesman stated: “The reasons for the non-payment of money owed to An Garda Siochana is a matter for the body that has not paid the money to comment on. No further information is available.”

He stated: “We don’t comment on the specifics of on-going correspondence with third parties.”

'No comment'

Asked why the FAI failed to make any payment last year or does it intend to pay the money owed to the Gardaí, a spokesman for the FAI would only say: “We have no comment.”

The failure by the FAI to make any policing payments last year is the latest illustration of the perilous financial state at the organisation that threatens jobs of people working there.

The association has current liabilities of €62m and made a loss of €8.9m in 2018. They believe that 2019 will also be loss-making, by perhaps up to €4m.

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