Entire Football Association Ireland board to step down

The entire board of Football Association Ireland have indicated they will step down.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross gave the news to a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

The FAI has been in the eye of a political storm since it emerged that ex-chief executive John Delaney provided it with a bridging loan in April 2017 to prevent it exceeding its 1.5 million (£1.3 million) euro bank overdraft.

Mr Delaney has insisted he acted in the best interests of the game when he loaned the organisation 100,000 euro (£86,000).

John Delaney
John Delaney (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Ross said he was disappointed by the behaviour of the board in a seven-hour committee meeting last week, when members appeared unwilling or unable to answer basic questions.

“Concerns remain about a financial transaction, and corporate governance, which suggests that all is far from well,” Mr Ross said.

“In the last few hours the FAI has written to me to say decisive action has been taken.

“I welcome that the FAI is engaging with Sport Ireland in a process, and that they have now indicated that the board will step down.

“I believe that an EGM should be called before the July date, as soon as the active investigations have been concluded, to facilitate a transition to a new board by way of transparent elections.

Shane Ross confirms the FAI board has volunteered to step down: "Given the ever growing lack of public confidence in the FAI, this move is to be welcomed and is hopefully the first step on the road to rebuilding trust in this important NGB."

— aoife-grace moore. (@aoifegracemoore) April 16, 2019

“Given the ever growing lack of public confidence in the FAI, this move is to be welcomed and is hopefully the first step on the road to rebuilding trust in this important NGB (national governing body).

“Considering the issues over which most of this board has presided, and those issues being obvious even before the various investigations have started, it is clearly time for a regime change.”

Sport Ireland has temporarily withheld further funding to the FAI pending an auditors’ probe.

Mr Ross welcomed the move, and said: “I can add that there will be no further Government funding for the FAI until we see real change and reform in the association’s corporate governance, and until we have credible answers.”

Shane Ross
Shane Ross (Nick Ansell/PA)

It emerged hours before the committee meeting that auditors Deloitte reported the FAI for breaking company law to the Companies Registration Office (CRO).

The FAI’s official auditors filed the report on April 12, saying the organisation’s accounts were not being properly kept, and were allegedly contravening section 281 and section 282 of the Companies Act 2014.

John Treacy of Sport Ireland told the committee that Aidan Horan, of the Institute of Public Administration, will be the independent chairman of the FAI internal governance committee.

He added that his organisation is concerned about the FAI’s adherence to appropriate financial controls, and agreed with the FAI on Monday night that a full audit will be carried out.

“This audit will be as broad and extensive as necessary, including internal financial controls, management and general governance … all at a sufficient standard to restore funding,” he said.

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