FAI staff call for clarification of association’s financial arrangements with former CEO John Delaney

FAI staff call for clarification of association’s financial arrangements with former CEO John Delaney
John Delaney

FAI workers have joined the call for clarification of the association’s financial arrangements with former chief executive John Delaney and the accountability of the board.

SIPTU members employed by the FAI are "incensed" that they were subjected to pay cuts when it appears the organisation was making €3,000 a month rental payments on behalf of Mr Delaney, whose salary was €360,000 per annum.

“They are extremely annoyed, to put it mildly,” Siptu sport sector organiser Denis Hynes said.

FAI staff call for clarification of association’s financial arrangements with former CEO John Delaney

It appeared, he said, the FAI had began making rental payments in 2016 while claiming to be unable to restore the pay and conditions of workers due to financial constraints. FAI employees had reductions in salaries of between 10% and 15% implemented on “a temporary basis" in 2012, but not fully restored until January of this year.

“This issue has particularly incensed our members because when the cuts in their pay were originally imposed, John Delaney stated that he was taking a similar reduction in his earnings.

“That was to have been a pay cut for him of €40,000 so, then, to hear that the association was paying €36,000 (pa) in rental allowance has really infuriated staff,” Mr Hynes said.

Siptu members are calling on the FAI “to immediately make a statement on its exact financial arrangements with John Delaney”.

SIPTU represents FAI staff employed as development officers, coaches and administrators, as well as players through its affiliation with the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland.

The controversy engulfing the FAI erupted following a recent Sunday Times article revealing details of a €100,000 bridging loan Mr Delaney had made to the association to address a “short term cash flow problem” in April 2017.

The FAI says the loan was repaid in full to Mr Delaney. It subsequently emerged that the FAI has been paying Mr Delaney’s rent. Politicians and Sport Ireland are seeking clarification around the financial arrangements.

Health Minister Simon Harris said he wouldn’t like to see public funds withheld from the FAI but that there were “very serious questions for John Delaney and more broadly the FAI to answer”.

“These questions go to the very heart of good governance and I am sure that the Oireachtas committee will ask these questions, and in a fair but robust way,” Mr Harris said.

Mr Delaney, who is now in the newly-created post of FAI executive vice president, will lead an FAI delegation due to appear before the Oireachtas Sport Committee next month.

- Additional reporting by Juno McEnroe

FAI staff call for statement on 'exact financial arrangements' with former CEO John Delaney

Earlier: FAI employees have called for an explanation after it was reported that former CEO John Delaney had his rent paid by the organisation.

Trade union Siptu says its members want the FAI "to immediately make a statement on its exact financial arrangements with John Delaney".

It was reported Mr Delaney, who has begun a new role with the FAI as executive vice-president, had €3,000-a-month rent paid by the footballing body.

Siptu Sport Sector Organiser, Denis Hynes, said: “It has been widely reported that in 2016 the FAI began paying rent of €3,000 per month for a house used by John Delaney.

"This was during a period when the organisation was claiming to be unable to restore the pay and conditions of employment of our members due to financial constraints. FAI employees were enduring reductions in salary of between 10% and 15%, which were implemented on what was meant to be a temporary basis in 2012.

“This issue has particularly incensed our members because when the cuts in their pay were originally imposed, John Delaney stated that he was taking a similar reduction in his earnings.

"Our members had to wait until January of this year to receive the final restoration of their pay after long and difficult negotiations between management and SIPTU representatives."

SIPTU represents staff employed by the FAI as development officers, coaches and in the administration as well as players through its affiliation with the PFAI.

The FAI declined to comment when asked about the reports by this publication.

Earlier today, the Chair of the Oireachtas Sport Committee says its questioning of Mr Delaney will not be a witch hunt.

He is due to appear before the committee next month, which is expected to ask questions about the €100,000 loan he paid to the FAI, and which was repaid later that year, as well as reports that the organisation has been paying his rent for the last number of years.

Committee chairperson Fergus O'Dowd said they will be looking at the overall governance of the FAI.

- Digital desk staff

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