Soccer

"I'm deeply concerned" - John Delaney facing 'fair, focused & robust' questions from Oireachtas committee


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Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd has expressed his deep concerns regarding the governance of the Football Association of Ireland, and expects to chair a "fair, focused and robust debate" when John Delaney and the association stands before the Oireachtas next month.

Set to chair the committee that will investigate governance within the FAI, O'Dowd, speaking to Newstalk this morning, outlined his expectations for the meeting.

"The questions remain in terms of the governance of the association," O'Dowd stated.

"In December, Deputy Catherine Murphy proposed that we would bring them in at that time before all of this controversy blew up and since then they've avoided coming in on three separate occasions.

"Even though people may have changed places [on their management team], the questions will still be the same."

Although the meeting of the FAI and the Oireachtas committee had been scheduled prior to the weekend's revelations, O'Dowd explained that these recent developments will influence the committee's line of questioning.

"I don't know what that means," stated O'Dowd in relation to Delaney's transition from CEO of the FAI to Executive Vice President, "it's like you're wearing one coat today and a different coat tomorrow, but you still have the same issues in your back pocket that you've to deal with."

"Every single question that members might have that are raised in the media will clearly be a matter for debate.

"It's not about John Delaney and it's not a witch hunt, and I have to be very clear on that.

"The job of the Oireachtas is to look at governance and John Delaney is the key player in that, but it's about how it was managed in terms of all of those issues, and others that arise in the interim.

"I want fair, focused and robust debate, and clear answers given and clear questions asked. It won't, as far as I'm concerned, be like some other committees that have ended up in the Supreme Court at the end of the day."

Crucially, O'Dowd explained that he will not tolerate any "grand-standing" and wants "all questions answered."

"I'm deeply concerned and I think this is a key moment in our country in terms of sport and particularly in terms of soccer," O'Dowd stated.

"Significant changes have clearly occurred over the weekend but we don't know the importance of them.

"The public need the answers, they need clarity ... but most of all I think they want real change."

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