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“Today is not a good day for sport” – Sport Ireland chief will not back FAI board

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

07:09 3 Apr 2019


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John Treacy, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, has refused to say that he has confidence in the FAI board during his appearance at the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism & Sport.

Treacy appeared alongside Chairperson of Sport Ireland Kieran Mulvey, with questions put to the representatives over corporate governance, the circumstances of the €100,000 bridging loan provided to the organisation, and the extent to which Sport Ireland had knowledge of the day-to-day proceedings of the FAI.

With regard to the loan, Treacy was critical of the late-stage nature of the letter that was issued by the FAI to explain its circumstances. John Delaney, then-CEO of the FAI, had sought an injunction on the reporting of the story about the loan, after which an FAI statement explained its circumstances.

"We will be raising the context of the letter which falls far short of what was expected by Sport Ireland," said Treacy.

"The letter does not provide any explanation on the circumstances of the loan and its repayment. The board of the FAI has not provided any legitimate reason to why it cannot provide the information requested.

"In the absence of adjudication as to whether the terms and conditions of grant approval have been complied with, we still await an explanation on the circumstances around the loan and its repayment."

In addition, Treacy believed it “extraordinary” that the FAI would not look to Sport Ireland, and instead to their own CEO, for a short-term loan to cover cash flow. He was also keen to clarify that Sport Ireland were not casting judgement, but merely looking to understand more about recent events.

"That's why we're asking questions. Generally, if an organisation is in trouble we meet to try and help and support these organisations. There is normally dialogue, there was no dialogue around this," said Treacy, who went on to discuss Sport Ireland’s vested interest in FAI governance.

“Sport Ireland is satisfied that effective control mechanisms and frameworks are in place with regard to our investment in the FAI.

"Sport Ireland is satisfied that our funding invested in the FAI is fully accounted for and expended on the purpose for which it was intended.

"This is verified on an annual basis by our financial controller based on reviews of the FAI's financial statements and signed auditor statements stating that all our grant was expended for the purposes for which it was intended."

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