CEO of Sport Ireland John Treacy; former CEO of FAI John Delaney
Representatives of Sport Ireland, which is responsible for the investment of public money in sport, will appear before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport at 2.30pm, to answer questions about the Football Association of Ireland.
Chief executive of Sport Ireland John Treacy, in his opening statement to the committee, which Broadsheet has seen, will say that, of the €2.9m Sport Ireland gives annually to the FAI, it is satisfied that this funding is “fully accounted for and expended on the purpose for which it was intended”.
However, he will also say that Sport Ireland knew nothing about the €100,000 loan from the FAI’s former CEO John Delaney to the FAI.
That the FAI’s explanation to date has been “insufficient”.
And that the FAI has also failed to respond to a second letter from Sport Ireland in which the body sought clarification about the loan.
Mr Treacy will also say Sport Ireland knew nothing about the FAI paying €3,000 a month in rent for Mr Delaney over several years, while he was earning €360,000.
And it knew nothing about the apparent deterioration in the FAI’s finances in 2017.
Mr Treacy will also tell the committee that in relation to the stepping down of Mr Delaney as the FAI’s CEO, only to take up a new role as executive vice-president – just days after news of the €100,000 cheque broke in The Sunday Times – Sport Ireland were not consulted about this decision which the FAI say resulted from recommendations made in a review of the FAI by Jonathan Hall & Associates.
Mr Treacy will say although the FAI put out a press release to that effect on the evening of Saturday, March 23 – the evening before The Sunday Times reported on the FAI’s rental payments – Sport Ireland wasn’t informed of the decision until it received a letter from the FAI on March 25.
Mr Treacy will say Sport Ireland was neither consulted on the commissioning or preparation of the Jonathan Hall & Associates report and has not received a copy of it.
Mr Treacy’s opening statement partly reads:
“Following media reports concerning a loan of €100,000 to the organisation by its now former Chief Executive, and at the request of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD, Sport Ireland wrote to the President of the FAI on 19th March seeking urgent clarification from the Board of the FAI on the circumstances of the loan and its repayment.
“Sport Ireland also sought an explanation on why we were not notified at any stage in 2017 about any apparent deterioration in the FAI’s financial position, which is a requirement of the Terms and Conditions of Grant Approval.
“Sport Ireland received a response from the President of the FAI, which acknowledged the loan of €100,000 to the FAI by its then Chief Executive.
“However, the contents of the FAI letter did not sufficiently explain the circumstances of this loan and its repayment, nor fully address the matter of compliance with Sport Ireland’s Terms and Conditions of Grant Approval.”
“On Monday 25th March, Sport Ireland again wrote to the President of the FAI re-seeking clarification on the circumstances of this loan.
“More detail was also requested by Sport Ireland in order to assess compliance with the Terms and Conditions of Grant Approval.
“Sport Ireland also sought re-confirmation that all state funding provided to the FAI has been spent for the purposes intended and in accordance with approved submissions. At the time of submission, no reply to the second letter has been received from the FAI.
“Sport Ireland is also aware of media reports relating to rental payments made by the FAI on behalf of its former Chief Executive. Sport Ireland has no knowledge of any rental payments which may have been made. As with any NGB for Sport, staffing and contractual arrangements are entirely a matter for the Board of the FAI.”
In his opening statement, Mr Treacy will also recall a query raised about the FAI’s finances and liquidity in 2017:
“The committee should note that, as part of the mid-year financial review of the FAI’s 2017 Financial Statements and in advance of the final tranche of 2018 funding being released to the FAI, Sport Ireland’s Financial Controller raised a query with the FAI in relation to their 2017 liquidity position (specifically the introduction of a bank overdraft facility of €1.3m and the increased net debt position in 2017).
“The query was responded to by the FAI’s Director of Finance, who stated ‘the Net Current Liabilities position is a common annual position mainly driven by Deferred Income balances where advance funds from grants, sponsorship & commercial agreements are being released over the life of the respective agreement. The overdraft position at Dec 2017 was within our Overdraft Facility with our Banking partners and was a matter of timing rather than a liquidity concern – the balance has been in credit for the majority of 2018 to date. The Balance Sheet position was reviewed by the audit team as part of going concern procedures, including reviewing future budgets, and no concerns were raised’.
“The Committee should also note that the €100,000 loan from the Chief Executive to the FAI was not disclosed as a separate note in the 2017 Financial Statements and this information was not made available to Sport Ireland at any stage.”
Mr Treacy will also tell the committee that, over the past ten years, the FAI has been audited by Sport Ireland’s independent auditors on more occasions than any other sporting organisation.
These Independent audits took place in 2010, 2014 and 2016, with all findings reported to Sport Ireland’s Audit & Risk Committee.
Mr Treacy will also tell the committee that in 2017, its investment in the FAI represented about 5% of the FAI’s total annual income, with the other 95% coming from the FAI’s commercial activity including sponsorship deals, broadcasting and gate receipts.