Soccer

“When Sport Ireland bares its teeth, it can be pretty ferocious”


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Former Dublin Camogie star Sarah O'Donovan, The Sunday Independent's Sports Editor John Greene and journalist Michael Verney were the guests for The Saturday Panel this week on Off The Ball. 

The FAI's appearance in front of an Oireachtas Committee dominated the news headlines this week and the fall-out from their performance continues to stir debate around the country.

"I think it's now gone bigger than the Oireachtas," O'Donovan told Nathan, adding: "So the ODC have received a letter from the FAI to say there was an omission and an omission is part of The Companies Act. It's a section 878 offence, it's a Category 2 offence and it's punishable by prison.

"So, if you're proved to have omitted an account or a document and you are party to it - whether you omitted it or you were party to it - you can be fined or end up with time in prison.

"There's two enquiries: one related to the loan and the second in relation to John Delaney's renumeration. So, John Delaney's renumeration package included him paying BIK (Benefit in Kind) as we understand from the papers but that wasn't coming forward in the financial accounts. So why was he paying BIK for something that wasn't being declared?" she said.

"Serious Questions To Answer"

John Greene followed on by highlighting how the entire association is now in focus, saying: "What we can't lose sight of now is the fact that the entire association is now in the spotlight. It's not about one person or two people or three people. The FAI is now back where it was in 2002 almost with serious questions to answer.

"The way public money is dispersed now...it's now like it used to be. It's not the 'good time Charlie' stuff that we used to have in the past, the slush funds for politicians to win votes. There's a little bit of that but it's mostly the level of accountability and transparency that's required when you're in receipt of any public funding - be it through leader funding, be it through Sports Capital Funding, through direct grants from departments - it's phenomenal.

"And any signs or any weaknesses in your system that emerge - you're just not going to get that money. And Sport Ireland has had its own problems in the past but now, when it bares its teeth and it doesn't do it too often but when it does bare its teeth - it can be pretty ferocious," he added.

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