Sport Ireland Chief Executive John Treacy has said that the FAI’s implementation of the Governance Review Group report would be a “hugely important” step towards the restoration of funding.
However, he also linked that prospect to the ongoing audit of the FAI’s finances which is being carried out, at Sport Ireland’s request, by accountancy firm KOSI, the results of which are due in September.
Responding to yesterday’s publication of the group’s blueprint for reform, Treacy said: “This is a first step. We’re doing a full audit through KOSI as everyone knows. They’re two very important steps in terms of restoration of funding. First thing is that the report is adopted by the AGM, that’s hugely important. That is a first step in restoring public trust. Then we’re waiting for the KOSI report.”
In the meantime, the Sport Ireland chief welcomed the publication of the review.
“This is a very good document,” he said. “The systems they’re talking about putting in place in terms of the board leading are hugely important: more controls, various sub-committees, internal audit, new deals, everything going back to the board. It’s very important that the board is leading the Association.”
While Shane Ross, the sports minister, has repeatedly stated that he wants to see the entire FAI board stand down, John Treacy said he understands the logic behind the recommendation that one or two current members would be retained on an interim board for a limited period of transition.
“Our preference was that everyone would have gone but we see the rationale the governance review group have put in place,” he said. “If you were on any board you wouldn’t want everyone to go at the same time. It’s for a short period of time, only a year.” Defending the proposal to retain one or two members of the present board, Aidan Horan, the chairman of the Governance Review Group said:
We viewed this from a good practice point of view. We said there was a more serious risk, we think, in letting everybody walk away rather than keeping one or a maximum of two stay in place — just for the interim period — for one year to manage that handover or transition. That is more prudent and careful.
On the state of the FAI’s relationship with Minster Ross, the Association’s president Donal Conway said: “I’ve spoken to the minister a number of times and I think he accepts my bona fides and those of the others that met with him with respect to reform. In my discussions with him, I have discussed what is the best way to put this into effect. This is all a judgement call from any one of us individually or by the board.
“I’m sure both minister Ross and I want to land at the same point, we share that in common. We might have some divergence on how best to affect it. That’s as it is. Both of us want to arrive at the same point and I will continue to talk to him and the Department and push on for the adoption of these reforms.”
For the 133-page report and its 78 recommendations to be adopted at the FAI AGM in Trim on July 27, at least 140 of the 206 Council delegates will be required to give it the green light.
Meanwhile, at yesterday’s launch, media personnel were stymied in their repeated attempts to ask questions about former CEO John Delaney, with the FAI saying they would not be making any comment about who they referred to as “a particular employee” who was “going through a process”.