FAI board expresses
Soccer

FAI board expresses "deep disappointment" at comments made at Oireachtas

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

20:46 18 Dec 2019

The FAI board has expressed "deep disappointment " at comments made during Wednesday's Joint Oireachtas Committee on Sport.

In a statement released on Wednesday night, Irish football's governing body goes on to say that "confidentiality was broken" during today's proceedings.

Earlier today, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross had told the Oireachtas Committee that the FAI looked for €18 million in a bailout from the government on Monday night. Minister Ross went on to describe that as "shocking".

He had also added that he had been "advised that to share the full details of the KOSI auditors' findings would be unlawful, [but] I can confirm that their opinion is that the FAI is not fit to handle public funds".

In Wednesday night's statement, FAI executive lead Paul Cooke said that, "what was said in the Oireachtas today will not help the recruitment process for those Independent Directors".

Full Statement

The Board of the Football Association of Ireland notes with deep disappointment some of the comments made at today’s meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Sport.

The FAI Board had welcomed the opportunity to meet with Government on Monday night when confidential talks took place regarding the financial future of the Association and efforts to safeguard jobs at the FAI and the future of football in Ireland.

That confidentiality was broken in the Oireachtas today and as a consequence, this has made the efforts to secure the financial future of the FAI all the more difficult.

FAI Executive Lead Paul Cooke said: “A number of points were raised today, some of which we addressed in confidence at Monday night’s meeting in Leinster House when we presented Government with a credible business plan produced in partnership with Grant Thornton. We outlined the current serious financial situation at the Association and how government involvement could help secure a refinancing package.

“The Board, management and staff at the FAI are working hard to avoid an insolvency process. We know better than anyone the consequences that would have on our international teams, the League of Ireland and the hundreds of thousands who play football up and down the country every weekend. The Board wants to do what is best for all those stakeholders and for our staff.

“We made it clear to Government on Monday that the Board is frustrated at the delay in the appointment of an Independent Chairperson and three Independent Directors. Like the Government, the Association wants to see these appointments made immediately.

“The process to appoint Independent Directors commenced at the earliest possible date following the adoption of the Governance Review Group report but we still don’t know the identity of the nominees for these positions.

“Until the refinancing package is signed-off, it is unlikely that Independent Directors will be available for appointment. What was said in the Oireachtas today will not help the recruitment process for those Independent Directors.

“The purpose of the meeting with Government on Monday was to expedite the completion of the refinancing deal, thus allowing the nominated Independent Directors to complete their own due diligence and take up their roles. That remains the priority of the Board.”

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