FAI say recent comments 'did not accurately reflect' board’s awareness of bridging loan

FAI say recent comments 'did not accurately reflect' board’s awareness of bridging loan
John Delaney

The FAI has confirmed that former CEO John Delaney will appear before an Oireachtas Committee on Wednesday.

While not mentioning Mr Delaney by name, a statement on behalf of FAI President Donal Conway said: "All requested members of the FAI are included on the [attendance] list".

Mr Delaney, who was recently appointed executive vice-president of the FAI, will face questions relating to a €100,000 bridging loan which he gave the association in 2017.

Mr Conway said in his statement released this afternoon:

"We also advised [Sport Ireland] that some recent comments made by the FAI did not accurately reflect the Board’s level of awareness of the existence of the €100,000 issue in 2017. This matter is being considered by the Board sub-committee."

A previous FAI statement, released on March 18, said: "The Board of the FAI has been kept fully informed in relation to this matter at all times".

The day previous, then CEO Mr Delaney said in an FAI statement: "As CEO, I hold regular meetings with our Director of Finance regarding the state of our finances and all items arising are conveyed to our Board at our monthly meetings.

"This was the case in 2017 when I acted in good faith for the benefit of the FAI and will continue to do so."

Sport Ireland last week expressed its dissatisfaction with the FAI's response to queries it has made about the loan.

A letter sent by the FAI to Sport Ireland said the organisation wouldn't be able to provide further detail on the loan until a review was completed.

“The letter does not provide any explanation, the board of the FAI has not provided any legitimate reason why it cannot provide any explanation,” said Sport Ireland’s chief executive John Treacy.

Mr Conway said he regrets that the FAI "were not in a position to assist Sport Ireland with answers to its questions before it attended the Committee last Wednesday" and "that no disrespect was intended by the lateness of the letter of the 2nd of April or its brief contents".

FAI President Donal Conway
FAI President Donal Conway

He said the association hopes to address the issue "as soon as possible, with due regard to the different ongoing processes".

The external review, to be conducted by Mazars, is yet to begin, with work ongoing to finalise the terms of reference.

The FAI have also revealed that accounting firm Grant Thornton have been on site at FAI headquarters since last Tuesday to conduct an internal review "of the Association’s books, records and ledgers".

"As well as the Board establishing a sub-committee to lead the work, the global auditing and consulting group Mazars has been commissioned to conduct an independent and in-depth external review of matters," said Mr Conway.

"The Association's advisors are working with Mazars to finalize the terms of reference for the review so work can begin. The Board has also requested that this review be completed as soon as possible.

"Pending the review by Mazars, the Association has separately and urgently engaged Grant Thornton to conduct an internal review of the Association’s books, records and ledgers.

"Grant Thornton are on site at FAI HQ since Tuesday, April 2."

The FAI says it has "offered to meet Sport Ireland’s audit staff and, with the assistance of Grant Thornton, to go through the relevant accounts to assure Sport Ireland that all Government funding has been properly spent since the last Sport Ireland audit of the FAI".

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