Former Football Association of Ireland (FAI) Treasurer and General Secretary Brendan Menton has suggested that the FAI remain in a “significant financial crisis” even with UEFA’s financial support.
There has been no clarity from the FAI or Uefa over whether the money the European organisation are supplying to maintain the running of the embattled association must be paid back, a grant or advanced television money.
Menton, who walked away from the FAI in 2002, posited on Tuesday’s OTB AM that he believed it most likely that the money was simply an advancement of future television which would mean that the FAI, rather than being saved by Uefa money, remains in a “severe crisis”.
“It's obvious that Uefa are the cash-flow for the organisation in the short-term but I would presume that's an advance in future income on television deals rather than an extra grant. So, I think that says to me the FAI are in a significant financial crisis.
“And now with Noel Mooney’s appointment we have the situation where a Uefa employee is the General Manager of football in Ireland.”
Menton, who was also a former Chief Economist for AIB, said that his fear for the FAI was that the financial situation will primarily affect staff and player development programmes.
Menton also explained that, in his view, the high levels of debt the FAI imposed on itself with the Aviva Stadium deal has meant that the country has missed out on a generation of player development due to money being diverted to service debts.
“I think we have lost one generation of development for our players and, in the current situation, I think we are going to lose another”, he said.
Menton was pessimistic for the prospects of progress and change within the organisation, saying: “I think the process now is to preserve the status quo and preserve the position of the eight directors”.
“They said they are going to resign. Maybe they will, but they could stand for re-election. And I don't think there's going to be significant change coming out.”
Menton also expressed disappointment that reforms would have to be approved by the same FAI board and council that brought the organisation to this point.
“How are you going to achieve changes if the people who brought the association into this debacle are going to be the very same people who reform it for the future and that lacks credibility in my view.”
“The leadership have let the grassroots down, and the leadership should be changed”, Menton concluded.