The Nation Holds Its Breath

at | 48 Replies

Earlier.

The FAI delegation, including John Delaney (centre), arrive at Leinster House this morning

Update:

This morning.

Senior members of the Football Association of Ireland, including former CEO and current executive vice-president of the FAI John Delaney, are appearing before the Oireachtas sports committee.

It follows revelations in The Sunday Times on St Patrick’s Day that the former CEO of the FAI John Delaney gave the FAI a “bridging loan” of €100,000 on April 25, 2017 – a loan Sport Ireland said it knew nothing about – and that the FAI paid €3,000 a month in rent for Mr Delaney for several years while he was earning €360,000.

Mr Delaney failed to secure a High Court injunction on the eve of St Patrick’s Day to prevent publication of Mark Tighe’s story about the loan.

On Monday, the FAI’s president Donal Conway released a statement saying, among other things, that previous comments made by the FAI in respect of the loan “did not accurately reflect the board’s level of awareness” about  it.

He added: “This matter is being considered by the board sub-committee.”

The meeting can be watched live above.

Previously: John Delaney on Broadsheet

Meanwhile…

UPDATE:

President of the FAI Donal Conway (above) has told the committee that if all cheques issued by the FAI before the week ending April 28, 2017, had been cashed in, it would have been likely that there would have been “insufficient funds” to cover all the cheques.

He said it was a “short-term issue” as there was a legitimate expectation of funds making their way to the FAI, via “various income streams”, including from tickets, sponsorship, grant funding and “other sources”.

Mr Conway said Mr Delaney’s cheque of April 25, 2017, “provided immediate financial relief” to the FAI – particularly in respect of one creditor’s request to drawdown money from the FAI on April 26.

He said the board acknowledges that the circumstances of the loan was “exceptional”, adding that the loan was repaid on June 16, 2017.

Mr Conway said no contract or agreement was entered into between the FAI and Mr Delaney and no interest or charges were levied, or paid, by the FAI in respect of the transaction.

UPDATE:

Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger tweetz:

This is how John Delaney is going to play it at the Oireachtas committee.

“I acted in the best interests of the association….I did it [wrote the €100,000 cheque] in the best interests of football.”

Mr Delaney speaking at the committee this morning.

UPDATE:

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy is the first politician to ask questions.

This is because she was the first politician to raise concerns and request Mr Delaney to come before the committee – last year.

Mr Murphy asked Mr Delaney:

“Just to clear one thing up Mr Delaney, you said you recall asking the director of finance [Eamon Breen] about any reporting or disclosure of obligations out of the €100,000 payment, can you recall the response to that?”

Mr Delaney replied:

“I’ve made it clear in my statement, Deputy Murphy, that I can’t add any further to that…given the various investigations that are taking place.”

Ms Murphy turns her attention to Mr Conway and asks him about the statement earlier this week in which he FAI said previous comments about the board’s awareness of the loan were inaccurate.

Mr Conway said, at the time of the loan, three members of the board were aware of it, while other board members became aware of it on March 4, 2019, during a regular board meeting. [The Sunday Times contacted FAI about the loan on March 1].

Ms Murphy later asks why the board was “kept in the dark”.

Mr Conway said: “This is the only occasion that this kind of a transaction actually occurred. And the matter…was dealt with at the level of the finance department and the CEO [Delaney].”

Mr Conway also told Ms Murphy that, while the board were informed of the loan on March 4, there was a conference call about Mr Delaney’s injunction attempt on March 16 (the night of which the injunction took place).

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock asked if the creditor that wasn’t named – but prompted the need for the loan from Mr Delaney – was Dundalk FC.

Mr Conway said: “That’s a matter, an internal matter in the FAI. I’m not going to go into that.”

Mr Rock accepted this and then asked if the “creditor” had made previous requests for funding, before April 25, 2019.

Mr Conway said the FAI would have had an “ongoing dialogue” with that creditor”.

Asked of the FAI was close to becoming “effectively insolvent” at the time of this request for money, Mr Conway said:

“I wouldn’t accept that view. I would draw your attention to our accounts each year. I think we’ve had nine consecutive years of profit. I think cash-flow, as I say, can be a challenge to manage but because of the timing of revenue or income streams, that does make it difficult.

“That doesn’t lead to a situation where you could conclude that the business was not a going concern, or insolvent.”

Fine Gael Senator John O’Mahony asked Mr Conway who within FAI made the decision not to inform Sport Ireland about the loan.

Mr Conway said it was “an omission on our part”.

Mr O’Mahony suggested “somebody made a call” not to tell Sport Ireland.

But Mr Conway said: “That may not be the record, deputy.”

Mr O’Mahony also asked Mr Conway about the FAI-commissioned Jonathan Hall and Associates review – which the FAI claims prompted the change of Mr Delaney’s job from CEO of the FAI to executive vice-president of the FAI (a week after The Sunday Times story about the loan).

Asked when the report was commissioned, Mr Conway said “early March”.

[It should be noted Mark Tighe has reported that The Sunday Times first contacted the FAI about the loan on March 1, 2019, his story was published on March 17 and Mr Delaney’s role change was announced on the night of March 24]

Asked about the terms of reference of the review, Mr Conway said: “It was essentially a review into the senior management structure.”

Asked if there were “no specific terms of reference”, Mr Conway said it was a scoping review.

Mr Conway said the completed review was given to the FAI in “late March” and the decision to change Mr Delaney’s role took place “within days”.

Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy asked Mr Conway about the hiring by the FAI of Jonathan Hall for the review.

Mr Conway said Mr Hall had previously done “considerable work for the FAI” in the area of corporate governance.

He then went on to confirm that the review wasn’t put out to tender.

Asked who decided to hire Mr Hall, Mr Conway said: “The board.”

Donal Conway (centre), director of public relations and communications at the FAI Cathal Dervan (back centre), solicitor Aidan Eames (back right)

On March 18 – a day after the loan story broke – the FAI released a statement saying the FAI board was “kept fully informed in relation to the matter [the €100,000 loan] at all times”.

But this wasn’t the case.

Further to this…

Ms Coppinger put to Mr Delaney that he made it clear in his statement, he will not speak about his former role as CEO of the FAI, or the €100,000 loan, but he is willing to speak about his current role.

She asked if it’s fair to say he’s still “double-jobbing” as he currently has two roles – executive vice president of the FAI and being on the UEFA committee.

[Mr Delaney gave an interview to Tipp FM last week saying he was doing three jobs and this was too much for him]

Mr Delaney ultimately said “no” and went on to explain what his roles will require of him.

Ms Coppinger then had this exchange with Mr Delaney…

Coppinger: “Do you think it’s fair that you are answerable to the public in your roles? Including in your current role, given that the public do contribute to the buying of the match tickets, to the football jerseys, to the merchandise and while you’ve said here today, for legal reasons, following the Angela Kerins case, that you’re not willing to talk about it. But do you not think you’ve a duty to answer some questions?”

Delaney: “I’ve read my statement as it is.”

Coppinger: “Ok, well on your current role. Would it be fair or accurate to say that the salary for that is more than the total League of Ireland prize money…”

Fergus O’Dowd [chairman of the committee: “Obviously it’s a question everybody would like answers to in this committee. You [Delaney] don’t have to answer that question, given our…”

Coppinger: “He can if he wants to…”

O’Dowd: “No, no, no, let’s be honest about this now…I’m…”

Coppinger: “He can choose not to…”

O’Dowd: “No, no, what I’m saying is he can answer if he wishes but he doesn’t have to if he doesn’t want to…Our role as a committee is to stay within our remit.”

[Solicitor Aidan Eames passes a note to Mr Delaney]

Coppinger: “Right, well, Mr Delaney has said he’s willing to answer about his current role which is very much connected to, you know, club development, etc, so my questions…”

O’Dowd: “Time is up on this. Everybody will get in again a second time.”

More to follow

48 thoughts on “The Nation Holds Its Breath

      1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

        And we’ll really shake em up when we win the worruld cup
        Coz Ireland are the greatest football team…

        Heeeeh heh. God love us.

        Reply
    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      Exactly. Delaney is a crook. Prove it, oh great Inquiry!
      The only people that are excited by this are soccer fans.
      Could we get a classic post-match quote like. “uh, I really giv it me best and all but de odds wuh stacked aginst me and XXX wuhrra bettah team on the day. Match of two alfs” etc etc.

      Reply
      1. Clampers Outside

        ….It was a beautiful question, he said, and yet he delivered a poor answer in two halfs. The first half was bad but the second was even worse.
        At this point a pencil was thrown….

        Reply
    2. mick

      I cannot say anything due to legal reasons
      That’s put am end to it

      I have been screaming this and its your only man
      A full revenue audit from the time Delaney took over is yer only man
      And the chequer is a good enough reason

      But as usual he is being protected
      So ban me

      Reply
  1. Junkface

    The head on John Delaney. He always looks like a fella who could get you a great deal on a 2nd hand Septic Tank, or a fixer upper used tractor

    Reply
    1. millie st murderlark

      He looks like my old boss, a man who was without question one of the most unpleasant silly I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet.

      So I’m lumping Delaney in with him based on absolutely nothing except that. Oh, and he’s John Delaney.

      Reply
      1. martco

        I was going to reply with a customary badumtish

        but the likelihood is that:
        they actually are / have done in the past / will be doing so in the future
        not qualifiers though moreso the WC or CL final

        Arthur Daly there will cruise on, nothing to see here & fupp all will change under the skin

        Reply
    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      In fairness Eoin, the man may be up for scrutiny on how he does his job but his personal life has to be off limits.

      Reply
      1. eoin

        Indeed his personal life is off limits, but there’s a grey area in between when it comes to his finances, isn’t there? Anyway, I’m not claiming to know what the legal advice is and why he’s not answering questions about the transaction which temporarily emptied his bank account of €100,000.

        Reply
  2. RuilleBuille

    He’s ‘passionate’ about football – as if that is a defence. He was so passionate he was about to take Pat Hickey’s role on the OCI before Hickey was arrested.

    What could Delaney be hiding?

    Reply
  3. eoin

    Wow! The Jonathan Hall report was “commissioned in early March”!
    It was 1 March when the Sunday Times first asked FAI for comment on the €100,000 loan, that is, 17 days before they published their story.
    The FAI have previously stated the Jonathan Hall report was commissioned in February, BEFORE the first contact from the Sunday Times.

    The FAI is really, really shifty.

    Reply
  4. Dr.Fart MD

    why do people on already ridiculous wages, put their efforts into corruption and self-gain, instead of just try and do a good fuppin job at which you’re being paid well for?? always the way in this country. every bit of power is abused.

    Reply
  5. A Person

    Why is Coppinger tweeting at a Dail committee enquiry? Just proves that the politicians are there for publicity only, and not really to find out facts.

    Reply
  6. Kolmo

    Why is this getting so much media heat? It seems a bit trivial to other hideous acts of well-spoken white-collar society-retarding criminality affecting our lives..

    Reply
  7. jockey

    I don’t see why this escalated so much? If it were the other way around, I could definitely see how something crooked was going on. But what harm has he done to anyone or anything? Didn’t he do a good thing to keep the ball rolling in the company?

    Reply
    1. millie st murderlark

      He’s had that one coming for a long time.

      Not a huge fan of Ruth but fair play to her for saying what everyone else is thinking.

      Reply
  8. eoin

    We know FFer Deputy Kevin O’Keeffe dealt with John Delaney to buy two world cup tickets (for Moscow 2018) with a face value of €1,806, the tickets were worth up to €180,000 on the secondary market.

    We know FGer Deputy Noel Rock had dealings with John Delaney in 2017 (twice) about getting tickets, there was an accusation a few weeks ago that Dep Rock was angling for free tickets.

    I wonder what ticket dealings the King of the Gombeens, Michael Healy-Rae has had with John Delaney?

    Reply
      1. martco

        I’m not sure either @Cian…
        however whatever about stubhub & the like I can tell you that tickets for CL final have been known to fetch £20k apiece on the old school black market…so for a WC final maybe a lot more.

        I think yiz are all missing the point tho about the “market value” angle – I doubt likes of Delaney (unless he’s really really fupping stupid) does cash deals for tix – it’s more greasing wheels for the right people scenario. indirect. murky & virtually impossible to prosecute in any real way

        Reply
  9. Curated by Vanessa for Frilly Keane

    Hould the ball there now boys n’ girls

    If that 100k was Dundalk’s Cup Final prize money then we’re inta a whole different game altogether

    Prize Money is held within a unique Control Account
    And should have a separate bank account
    That League shouldn’t have kicked off unless this was already in parked up nice and tight

    Prize funds – like a members draw, are not treated like Creditors within the short-term liabilities along with suppliers
    Like the lads who supply the photocopier paper

    Ye’re all so focused on John Delaney

    When there are two principal issues
    And this is what, IMO anyway
    The Grant Thornton brief is

    One:
    ∆ WTF is going in within that Finance Department that they rack up an almost 2 mill overdraft over a single reporting period.
    ∆ That they write cheques
    ∆ That they do this against cash they do not have and that they didn’t have a credit facility in their main working account

    Second item
    The complete failure of Directors and the then CEO to not recognise the incompetence of their own finance department

    What would be the biggest informant of all?
    And this is where Grant Thornton will go to after they’ve gone over every Bank Rec with a nit comb
    The Board Minutes

    And btw
    Still nought from Deloittes

    Reply
  10. Lilly

    ‘The Irish Times view on the FAI: the game is up’

    Here’s hoping.

    ‘“On legal advice I am precluded,” said Delaney of his silence. One cannot be precluded by advice, legal or otherwise. He chose not to speak, and that choice was an insult to the committee and the taxpayers it represents.’

    Reply
  11. Dub Spot

    That’s a pretty nasty aside about Aidan Eames’s clients. He’s doing his job as a solicitor. He doesn’t represent anyone in court.

    As for the whole uproar – frankly who cares? If the RoI soccer team was winning left, right and centre, the lads slurping pints in the Noggin Inn would be raising a toast to Delaney.

    FAI running out of money? Anyone for Denis?

    Reply
    1. Lilly

      ‘That’s a pretty nasty aside about Aidan Eames’s clients.’

      Nasty? It’s a simple statement of fact.

      ‘As for the whole uproar – frankly who cares?’

      You might not care how your tax is spent but plenty of people do.

      Reply
      1. Dub Spot

        A statement of select facts to suit the narrative. Has he no other clients? Ever?

        As for others being concerned how my taxes are allegedly being spent, …. I’m puzzled how they’d think the FAI was my top concern….

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *