FAI 'shocked' by SIPTU warning

The Board of the FAI has said it is “shocked and disappointed” by SIPTU's claim that there is a threat the Association could become insolvent in a matter of weeks.

In a statement calling for an urgent meeting with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, to discuss what SIPTU said was as “the threat to jobs in the FAI due to the precarious financial situation of the organisation”, the union’s Sport Sector Organiser Denis Hynes Hynes said: “We have received information that the FAI is in an extremely precarious financial situation with a threat of the organisation becoming insolvent in only a matter of weeks. This has caused great concern to our members who are employed by the FAI.”

Responding to what the FAI described as “unfounded claims” regarding their financial situation, President Donal Conway said: "As I outlined to our Council meeting today, we recently met with UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin and Director of National Associations Zoran Lakovic.

"At that meeting in Nyon, they assured us of the full support of UEFA for the FAI as we go through our current processes. UEFA’s support will ensure the continued viability of the Football Association of Ireland and there is no threat to FAI Operations or to FAI staff."

Paul Cooke, the new member on the FAI’s sub-committee overseeing a number of investigations, said today’s meeting of council was "constructive".

The noon summit was the first time that the 58-member forum assembled since the association were thrown into chaos following revelations concerning John Delaney.

It had transpired that a €100,000 loan given to his employers by the former chief executive in 2017 to remedy a cashflow crisis wasn’t disclosed to the full board.

Five separate investigations are ongoing, including one by the state watchdog, the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), while Delaney was sent on gardening leave.

Cooke is due to succeed Eddie Murray, who quit as treasurer on the same day of Delaney’s departure a month ago, but was instead today appointed to a subcommittee of the board tasked with assisting the various bodies probing the FAI’s finances and governance mechanisms.

After meeting Uefa last week, the FAI hierarchy welcomed Fifa to their Abbotstown headquarters today. Both organisations are prepared to assist the FAI through their troubles.

Cooke, a chartered accountant who previously represented his hometown club Waterford on the council, said: “I thought the council meeting went quite well. There was a constructive atmosphere, people participated in it, asked questions and got answers.

It is possible to fix this situation but I can’t say how much heartache it will take because I only started yesterday.

Dave Moran from the Leinster Senior League, who proposed Cooke for the vacancy, insisted the era of delegates being kept in the dark has to be over.

“Today’s was a very positive council meeting that went in for over two hours,” he said.

“I heard about the SIPTU statement but the FAI will get huge backing from FIFA and UEFA.

“There were a lot of questions about what’s gone on recently. We had Aidan Horan, the chair of the governance review group, talking to us.

“He said that everything going forward will be more up front and more transparent. If not, I’ll be back out here talking to the media.”

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