Soccer

FAI at the Oireachtas: The Key Points

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

07:09 10 Apr 2019


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As you may have been following on the Oireachtas live feed, the FAI appeared before the Committee this afternoon.

A delegation including ex-CEO John Delaney (now executive vice-president) and president Donal Conway were among the attendees.

But what did we learn from today's events?

Joe Molloy and the Irish Daily Star's Kieran Cunningham have been sifting through the key points on Off The Ball.

Watch the full analysis above via our YouTube channel.

Kerry South TD offering praise to John Delaney: 

More to follow

John Delaney

John Delaney made it very clear in his opening remarks that he could not answer questions about the €100K bridging loan.

"On legal advice I am precluded from making any further comments at this hearing in relation to the finances of the Association or my former role as CEO or the €100,000 payment either directly or indirectly," he said.

“In the interests of fair proceedings and natural justice, while I have made this statement to the Committee and have attended this meeting voluntarily as I have attended many Oireachtas Committees in the past. I am not in a position to answer any such questions at this time.

"Given that some members of this Committee have made highly prejudicial public pronouncements about me personally prior to my attendance here today and in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling in the Kerins case, I would ask that the Committee respects this position."

Kieran shared his view on the above stance.

"One of the main interests people had in this committee and what would happen was John Delaney. What would John Delaney have to say for himself? And he said very little," he said.

"But it was selective. There were a couple of questions he did ask around Genesis and the implementation of Genesis which did relate to his time as Chief Executive. He seemed to be cherry-picking things that might have made him look a bit good in his time as CEO."

The Loan

Catherine Murphy TD raised the issue of the €100K loan early on in proceedings. FAI president Donal Conway answered as follows:

"On the occasion of the €100,000, it wasn't discussed at the board. That's correct," he confirmed.

Delaney confirmed, in his opening statement, that three people had been aware of the situation when it arose in 2017. They were the FAI's Director of Finance, the Financial Controller and Delaney.

"Including the treasurer of the FAI didn't know about it," said Kieran.

Governance and Delaney's new role

Delaney departed the role of FAI CEO in March. But he is now executive vice-president. Imelda Munster TD queried the process that led to that new position being filled. Here is part of Conway's response:

"We felt there was somebody who had the skill-set that matched the role," said Conway in reference to Delaney. He had also made reference to Delaney's influence with UEFA as a factor.

Kieran challenged that aspect of Conway's response and the concept of indispensable figures.

"It's a line you hear a lot from them. People that defend John Delaney point to his influence in UEFA and to the wider football family," he said.

"And it's very similar to the language we used to hear around Pat Hickey and the Olympic Council. That because he was so prominent on the international Olympic Committee that he was regarded and kept being told he was indispensable. 'We need Pat in there'.

"But since Pat has gone from the Olympic Council, Sarah Keane has come in and five different people from the Irish Olympic Federation have gone on to the International Olympic Committee. There are other people there. There's nobody indispensable. They've bought into this aura about John Delaney, that everything would fall apart [if he left] - that they would be nothing without him. That's very dangerous."

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FAI Joe Molloy John Delaney Kieran Cunningham Michael Healy-rae Off The Ball Oireachtas Committee Sport Ireland

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