It has emerged that John Delaney made a second payment to the FAI as recently as December of last year.
The payment of €50,000 is described in the accounts published yesterday as a “donation…personally provided” to the Association by the former CEO.
Newspaper revelations last March claimed that in 2017 Delaney had given the Association a €100,000, which was subsequently repaid, set in train the sequence of tumultuous events which have rocked Irish football and which led to his own departure from the organisation in September.
Yesterday, the FAI interim Executive Lead Paul Cooke confirmed the existence of the second payment, which was part of what is described in the accounts as a “fundraising exercise” by the Association.
“Full transparency,” said Cooke, when his attention was drawn to the matter. “That was an investment. That was a donation, if you like, that was not a loan. The €100,000 was a loan. The €50,000 was a donation to the organisation. There was a number of people who made donations to the organisation at that time.”
Cooke said the total figure raised in the exercise was in the region of €650,000 and stressed that none of the other contributors were FAI employees.
President Donal Conway said that the board were unaware at the time of Delaney’s donation.
“We weren’t told there was an investment by John Delaney of €50,000 in the FAI,” he said. “I mean, I said I wasn’t going to speak about John Delaney in this context but most of my understanding of payments by John were reimbursements against non-business expenses.
“As I understand, that €50,000 was described as an investment in football. I wasn’t sure it was of a scale of €600,000 or whatever between a whole series of investors but I wasn’t familiar with the investments, simply.”
Paul Cooke said that some of the other donors were commercial sponsors, with Conway adding,“in some cases, I’m sure some of them were (for) boxes at the Aviva or ticket deals or some such thing. It would have been raising revenue through those.”
The FAI’s need for what in effect sounds like nothing so much as a ‘whip round’ this time last year, underlines the gravity of the growing financial crisis at the organisation, the full details of which were finally laid bare with the publication of yesterday’s accounts.
Cooke, who was outside the FAI at the time but who yesterday found himself front and centre in having to deliver grim financial tidings, opted for a touch of gallows humour when asked why the Association might have needed an injection of €650,000 12 months ago.
“You’re not asking me that question after what I’ve just gone through,” he said, referring to the presentation to the media which he had just completed. “What do you think we needed it for?”
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