Fresh questions over Fifa-FAI deal

Fresh questions have been raised about the long-term nature of the €5 million loan agreement world soccer body Fifa struck with the Football Association of Ireland in early 2010.

Fresh questions over Fifa-FAI deal

Fifa has told the Irish Examiner that it reclassified the no interest loan in its Financial Report in 2012 – the year after it wrote down the value of the loan by €1m to €4m – from a “short-term” loan to a “financial asset”.

A spokesman for Fifa in Zurich said this was done to reflect the “long-term nature” of the loan on its books and was done in accordance with accounting standards to show the nature of the loan.

It follows a series of questions the Irish Examiner has put to Fifa about how it has accounted for the FAI loan, and possibly any other similar loans, on its books between 2010 and 2014.

Fifa also said it wrote down completely the remaining value of the €4m loan in 2014, a year after the FAI said it wrote off the loan completely in its report and accounts.

A letter released as part of a number of documents last week by the FAI showed that Fifa wrote to FAI general secretary John Delaney on June 13 last year to confirm the loan was written off because of Ireland’s failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Fifa did not respond to questions about any other loans it may have provided to associations and confederations that may have been similar to that given to the FAI. A spokesman for the FAI was unavailable to comment.

The Irish Examiner has established that Fifa first accounted for the €5m loan in the Fifa Financial Report for 2010 as an amount of $6.646m. The newspaper has established that the loan is listed under note 17 to the accounts as worth $6.64m and recorded as an item under “Short-term loans due from related parties”. There is no note to explain the loan as being advanced to the FAI or any other related party.

The following year, in Fifa’s 2011 Financial Report, the value of the loan has shrunk to $5.175m. There is again no note to explain the sum or to identify the party or Fifa association or confederation to whom the loan has been advanced. The $5.17m sum equates to the written-down value of the loan of €4m.

Fifa has told the Irish Examiner that in 2012 the loan comes under the “other financial assets” category which totals €20.56m, but there is no explanatory note.

A Dáil committee yesterday said it would not be investigating the FAI loan.

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