FAI has paid just a fraction of garda match bill

The cash-strapped Football Association of Ireland has so far managed to repay just €19,000 of the more than €350,000 owed to Gardaí for policing major international matches.
FAI has paid just a fraction of garda match bill

Republic of Ireland's John Egan (left) and Finland's Teemu Pukki battle for the ball during the UEFA Nations League Group 4, League B match at Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PA Photo.

The cash-strapped Football Association of Ireland has so far managed to repay just €19,000 of the more than €350,000 owed to Gardaí for policing major international matches.

In December of last year, it emerged that the Gardaí were €357,244 out of pocket over the FAI’s failure to pay any money last year for policing operations at major Irish soccer internationals at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

On Wednesday, a Garda spokesman confirmed that the force has received payment from the FAI of €19,000 this year of the monies owed and that the overall FAI bill has since increased from last December.

The spokesman stated: “In line with additional invoices issued in 2020, the total fees outstanding to An Garda Síochána from the FAI for policing events is approximately €368,000.” 

He stated that “An Garda Síochána are continuing to pursue the recovery of the outstanding sum.” 

The spokesman stressed that “this outstanding debt has had no impact on the Garda budget”.

On Wednesday, FAI sources said that the association is “in discussions with the Gardaí around the timeline for the full payment of all monies owed”.

The bill would be much larger but for all games at the Aviva since March being played behind closed doors, without fans, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prior to the €19,000 payment made by the FAI to the force, the Gardaí earlier this year confirmed that before 2020, the last payment received from the FAI was €45,345 for non-public duties in June 2018.

In total, the FAI paid €184,479 to the force for non-public duties in 2018, and €283,630 in 2017.

Earlier this year, the Garda FOI unit declined to release correspondence between the Gardaí and the FAI concerning the outstanding monies, as the release “could impact future negotiations, therefore having an adverse effect on the performance of the organisation".

"The release of this type of detailed information is not in the best interest of the public,” it said at the time.

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