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Delaney refuses to clarify €100K loan

Wednesday, 10th April, 2019 5:11pm

Former FAI CEO John Delaney has said that he “regrets the embarrassment” his €100,000 loan has caused the association.

The comment came during an Oireachtas Committee on Sport meeting yesterday when members of the FAI were accused of giving “two fingers” to the committee and to sports fans by Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster.

Yesterday morning Mr Delaney read a statement confirming that he had given a €100,000 loan to the FAI in April 2017 on the understanding that the association was about to exceed its €1.5 million bank overdraft.

It also emerged that only three members of the FAI’s board knew about the loan at the time. The remaining members found out on 4 March 2019 after questions were submitted to the FAI from the Sunday Times.

“As the matter was pressing and we had only a few hours to resolve potential issues that would arise if the bank overdraft was exceeded, as a precautionary measure and to assist the FAI, I wrote a cheque for €100,000 from my personal current account to the FAI,” said Mr Delaney.

He then stated that on legal advice, he was not in a position to answer any further questions in relation to the loan.

Mr Delaney sat before the committee the day after Sport Ireland had announced its decision to suspend funding to the FAI, putting further pressure on the former CEO.

He said that he was “saddened” to hear of their withdrawal and that he was “only acting to assist the FAI for the benefit of Irish football”.

FAI President Donal Conway was unwilling to speak about the funding of Mr Delaney’s new role within the FAI as Executive Vice President, a role he took on shortly after the €100,000 loan had been reported.

When asked if he should have asked Mr Delaney to resign, Mr Conway said that his focus was on managing the situation with Sport Ireland and on “seeking to restore funding”.

Mr Conway also said that internal reviews being undertaken by consulting firms Mazers and Thornton Grant will be “very, very thorough” but avoided commenting on whether he would consider it a forensic audit. He had earlier stated that any review carried out by Thornton Grant would be for the FAI’s eyes only and not made available to the Sports Committee.

Sports Committee Chairman Fergus O’Dowd called on Mr Conway to consider a real change in regime within the FAI saying: “What people want is change on the board. They want new people and they want it now.”

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