Department to meet IRFU over FAI's stake in Aviva Stadium

Department to meet IRFU over FAI's stake in Aviva Stadium

Officials from the Department for Sport will meet the IRFU later to discuss the FAI's stake in the Aviva Stadium.

It is the latest development in a bid tackle the huge debt facing the football association.

Later today Shane Ross's department will discuss with the IRFU whether they would be open to buying the other half of the stadium they co-own with the FAI.

It comes after football's governing body announced last week €29m of its overall debt was down to the stadium.

At yesterday's Oireachtas committee meeting, the Sports Minister confirmed the FAI sought an €18m State bailout at crisis talks on Monday.

In response, the FAI has accused Minister Ross of jeopardising the refinancing of the association by breaching the confidentiality of the meeting.

The FAI claimed: "The FAI board had welcomed the opportunity to meet with Government on Monday night when confidential talks took place regarding the financial future of the association and efforts to safeguard jobs at the FAI and the future of football in Ireland.

That confidentiality was broken in the Oireachtas today and as a consequence, this has made the efforts to secure the financial future of the FAI all the more difficult.

Executive Lead Paul Cooke said the Minister's appearance before the Committee is also unlikely to help with the recruitment of Independent Directors.

Yesterday, he said: "A number of points were raised today, some of which we addressed in confidence at Monday night's meeting in Leinster House when we presented Government with a credible business plan produced in partnership with Grant Thornton.

"We outlined the current serious financial situation at the association and how Government involvement could help secure a refinancing package.

"The board, management and staff at the FAI are working hard to avoid an insolvency process.

"We know better than anyone the consequences that would have on our international teams, the League of Ireland and the hundreds of thousands who play football up and down the country every weekend. The Board wants to do what is best for all those stakeholders and for our staff.

"We made it clear to Government on Monday that the board is frustrated at the delay in the appointment of an independent chairperson and three independent directors.

"Like the Government, the association wants to see these appointments made immediately."

Both the Minister and Junior Minister have also sought a meeting with League of Ireland clubs, while a meeting with European governing body UEFA will take place next month.

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