Rescue package likely to minimise FAI job losses

Unions representing staff at the Football Association of Ireland are confident of minimal job losses at the cash-strapped organisation following talks with Shane Ross.

Rescue package likely to minimise FAI job losses

Unions representing staff at the Football Association of Ireland are confident of minimal job losses at the cash-strapped organisation following talks with Shane Ross.

The Sports Minister hosted Siptu, who represent the FAI’s development officers, at Leinster House directly after he’d met with senior officials from the Bank of Ireland.

It is expecting a rescue package, backboned with involvement by the government and Uefa, will be announced in the coming days to ward off potential examinership.

Uefa had on Tuesday also sat down with the FAI’s bankers to provide assurances of lucrative future revenue streams.

The financial institution have agreed to extend the FAI’s €29m mortgage until 2035 but were requested to supply additional money to alleviate a cash crisis.

Mounting liabilities have crept towards €70m and executive lead Paul Cooke a dmits losses will continue to be incurred for at least another two years.

An admission at the reconvened AGM on December 28 of a potential default on wages sparked further fear among the workforce of 210.

They had already been warned by Cooke last month about inevitable “consequences” of the financial mess he and his fellow new board members inherited from the John Delaney era.

A number of probes concerning the former chief executive’s financial conduct, the most significant by the state’s corporate watchdog, the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), are ongoing.

“Tough decisions are ahead,” cautioned Cooke.

It now appears that the focus of redundancies will centre on middle management.

Ross has laid out certain conditions in return for the state’s financial and guarantor support, primarily the retention of frontline staff.

The largest section, the 60 development officers, were the first to get caught up in the crossfire.

Just a few week after details of the controversy began in March, Sport Ireland withheld €1.4m in funding. This was earmarked as the state’s 50 per cent contribution towards staff wages and remains frozen.

Two of those employees, former Ireland U21 assistant manager Harry McCue and Fingal development officer Paul Keogh, accompanied Hynes to government buildings yesterday.

Players Football Association of Ireland (PFAI) secretary Stephen McGuinness was also part of the contingent.

“Our delegation was hosted by the minister after his meeting with Bank of Ireland, which he was positive about,” said Mr Hynes, also a councillor in Co Kilkenny.

“Assurances were given on the payment of monthly salaries due to staff next week.

“There is a sense of realism about the bumpy road ahead arising from the mistakes of others in the past.

“We are more hopeful than before that the ongoing situation will have minimal impact on jobs.

“Of course, there are no guarantees, as work still has to done on the finances, but there is an air of optimism.

“I will be at the FAI headquarters on Thursday to meet with the workers and key management staff.

“There is an understanding of the difficult situation the FAI finds itself and we’ll work together to maintain football in communities across the country.” Meanwhile, the FAI will today confirm the candidates to replace outgoing President Donal Conway at an emergency general meeting on Saturday week at the Crowne Plaza Blanchardstown (11.30am).

Cork native Gerry McAnaney was the only contender to make his candidature public but there was growing speculation last night of a late challenger.

Martin Heraghty was one of seven new directors appointed in July and the Sligo Rovers representative has been touted for elevation.

Under FAI rules, candidates must be current members of their council holding two years’ experience.

McAnaney, a retired army commandant, was defeated 80-57 by Cooke in the election for vice-president at the first part of the AGM held in July.

Cooke has since last month double-jobbed as executive lead on a voluntary basis.

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