FAI finally reveals true state of financial crisis

The FAI will finally publish their 2018 accounts, revealing in full the dire financial state of the association.

FAI finally reveals true state of financial crisis

The FAI will finally publish their 2018 accounts, revealing in full the dire financial state of the association.

High noon at FAI headquarters in Abbotstown will see the first unified public face of the new board, or at least most of them.

The four independent directors due to complete the 12-person committee have stayed away until the worst of the fallout from a traumatic year is laid bare.

Only today’s press conference will be much broader than that.

It promises to give some insight into the spending of the last few years.

The sheaf of papers circulated to media and on the FAI website will be extensive, not just the 2018 accounts, but the revised 2017 and restated 2016 versions.

That will run to almost 100 pages.

Unlike previous years, however, there will be no jargon to disguise the depth of Irish football’s debt.

Admitting the problem constitutes the first step towards rehabilitation, even if the scope of that problem has some mileage left to clock up.

Today’s briefing is likely to be anything but brief.

Paul Cooke, an experienced chartered accountant, has been belatedly installed as executive lead. Since being brought into the organisation in May, accepting the roles on a voluntary basis, his expertise has been utilised in unravelling the mire of financial issues.

It is he who will spearhead today’s exercise, summarising the state of play through an on-screen presentation.

No questions are off-limits — from the rationale for the €400,000 settlement to Delaney in September, to the amount liable from their revenue audit to overall debt.

Nor will they be denying that the withdrawal this week of main sponsors, Three, wasn’t a brand-conscious decision.

Staff expressed their frustration at Tuesday’s introductory meeting with Cooke about the haste with which former chief executive Delaney was paid off.

That the FAI’s constitution and rule book have been since altered to expand the oversight mechanisms beyond a couple of select officers provides a clue as to the dilemma they faced.

The risk of a costly court case, given the perilous state of cashflow, was a non-runner. The FAI have enough legal fees to absorb from the various ongoing investigations.

Flanking Cooke at the top table will be Donal Conway.

The president has been saying all the right things since the upheaval began, but remains tainted in the eyes of Government from his 14 years on the board under the Delaney regime.

State funding won’t be restored until he quits and,causing even more concerningly, it’s reported the quartet of independent directors would prefer to be part of a clean broom without any baggage.

With its reputation on the floor and millions in debt to service, the route back will be long and arduous, with job losses expected along the way.

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