“This Absolutely Stinks, Minister”


Fine Gael TD and member of the Oireachtas sports committee Noel Rock

Just now.

In the Dáil.

During Topical Issues, the management, finances and funding of the Football Association of Ireland was raised.

It followed the announcement of the FAI at the weekend that John Delaney would be stepping down as CEO but would be taking up a new role as executive vice-president.

The FAI said the move followed the adoption of a recommendations set out in a review of its senior management structure –  which was commissioned in February and carried out by Jonathan Hall Associates.

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock, who is also a member of the Oireachtas sports committee, told the Sports Minister Shane Ross no terms of reference for this report have been published to date and the FAI has “so far not even responded to our [sports] committee in looking for that report”.

Mr Rock went on to say;

“Incredibly, minister, within six weeks, that report has been produced in its entirety, no redrafting required and the contents of it acted upon by a unanimous vote of the board, culminating in the announcement of a brand new position for John Delaney.

“A new position for John Delaney, passed by an unanimous vote.

“This absolutely stinks, minister.

“I met with an expert in sporting governance who is currently undertaking such a review with a sporting body in another jurisdiction. That review is coming to conclusion, that review took a year.

“How could this review only take six weeks?

“Why did the FAI act on it so quickly? Why can’t the FAI supply us with this report, given they already acted unanimously on an element of it?

“Does the minister believe this is good corporate governance?

“Does the minister believe that taxpayers’ money is being deployed effectively?

“Does the minister not believe that now is the time for an independent examination into FAI corporate governance and finances.

“It’s time we looked at where taxpayers’ money is going as there are clear omissions being supplied.”

“On finance, I’ve spoken with current and former employees of the FAI, minister, and I am disturbed by what I’m hearing and the documents I am seeing.

“While we continue working with these sources and readying ourselves to ask questions about what has previously happened within the FAI in our committee, on April 10, I believe that we need to act now to safeguard taxpayers’ money.

“…we see in the public domain today, once again, that for 2019, the FAI requested an early drawdown of State funding from Sport Ireland – this is not the first time it has happened and no explanations have been forthcoming.

“We also saw the revelation of an undeclared directors’ loan by Mark Tighe in Sunday Times. The question has to be asked: why was this necessary? Is it the only time it happened? Why wasn’t it declared?

“Has the minister spoken to Sport Ireland on these matters, does he have any concerns with regard to the undeclared directors’ loan? Does he not agree that further taxpayer funding should be contingent on an independent examiner and an independent examination?

“The original issue which thrust this issue into the public domain was one of borrowed money, minister, but it is quite clear that the board of FAI is now only existing on borrowed time.

“These are important questions minister and they deserve an answer, they deserve a public answer. Thank you very much.”

In response, Sports Minister Shane Ross said, in relation the loan provided by Mr Delaney to the FAI “have raised serious questions about governance and financial controls in the FAI”.

He said Sport Ireland is currently engaged with the FAI to “clarify these matters” and “when the necessary clarifications have been received from the FAI” Sport Ireland will submit a report to him.

He added:

“In the interest of due process, and in the interest of natural justice, it is important that Sport Ireland’s engagement with the FAI would be given the necessary time to ensure that all matters are considered thoroughly. Therefore I do not wish to make an comment on any possible outcome from this ongoing process.”



Watch live here

Earlier: It’s All Kicking Off

21 thoughts on ““This Absolutely Stinks, Minister”

    1. eoin

      Isn’t Delaney a director of several companies related to the FAI, is he getting paid extra on top of his €360,000 (and €3,000 a month accommodation) for his role in these companies?

      1. Curated by Vanessa for Frilly Keane

        Well now you’ve just opened the door there E for an interesting discussion

        Why aren’t all their directorships declared in the Annual Report?
        Conflict of Interest standards and protocols notwithstanding;

        Any entity that has a beneficial and commercial interest in the activities and performance of another that have mutual directors should be a disclosure item; especially when there is significant public interest and taxpayers funds involved.

        I could easily argue that these household name organisations have a greater responsibility when it comes to Governance and transparency.
        Be seen as leaders and promotors of the very best practices.
        Standard bearers if you like.

        But obviously that debate needs to be started by someone else
        Someone more manly

    1. andy moore

      Or an FG hopeful hoping to depose Ross from Dublin Rathdown seat or even Shatter trying a comeback ??

    1. SOQ

      When Mary and John do each other down in an office meeting, I am fine but when football from England has more importance than a parliament threatening to blow their own head off… not so much.

  1. Andrew

    Great, another diversionary story. Varadkar et al will love this. Another Referendum in May and before you know Daíl is in recess. Job done.

  2. Zaccone

    They need to withdraw all government funding from the FAI. That’s the only way to make them sit up and take notice.

    “The FAI retains substantial control over public funds. In 2013 it received almost €350,000 from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, €42,000 from the Department of Foreign Affairs and €42,390 from the Department of the Environment.”

    “The FAI also receives public funds from the Irish Sports Council – €2.4 million in 2014”

    “Late last year the FAI asked Minister of State for Sport Michael Ring for “special one-off” funding of €1.2 million. “

    1. Curated by Vanessa for Frilly Keane

      I’ve had a good opportunity to take a daycent look into the FAI affairs over the last week not so

      It’s not the withdrawal of Government / Taxpayers money that would cause them pain

      It’s being dragged out into the open ground of:-

      * Transparency of transactions and decision making
      * Independent behaviour and being free from influence at Governance level
      * Equality and Meritocracy
      * Fitness & Probity

      Ah I could go on
      Lemme tell ye
      This crowd have been running rings around everyone for years
      And they’ll keep doing it

  3. curmudgeon

    Exactly this. Except I’d go further and axe their sweet deal with RTE also. When the money tap turns off Delaney wont have any friends on the board, the yes men will look after themselves.

  4. henry

    So Delaney is on the board of the Aviva
    Maybe we should also see if he has been touting all those tickets that the FAI never received in the allocations for internationals over the years
    A full revenue audit going back years is needed on everything Delaney has touched

    Maybe CAB needs to look at his dealings

  5. eoin

    What’s the story with the Whatsapp message referred to by Mark Tighe. Is the FAI getting in an early retaliation yet again? Also, why is Twitter deleting so many messages recently, particularly after the NZ mosque killings? There seem to be tonnes of “tweet not available messages” on lots of Twitter threads. Is Twitter becoming more responsive to reported tweets.

  6. Jeffrey

    The next big scandal in Banana Republic! I fully expect a few heads to be revealed as total crooks but none to actually be worried beyond having to resign… the usual.

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