| 10.5°C Dublin

Calls for FAI regime change as frustrated TDs react to 'evasive' performance from officials

Close

Fergus O'Dowd called for 'regime change'

Fergus O'Dowd called for 'regime change'

Fergus O'Dowd called for 'regime change'

Furious TDs branded FAI officials "evasive" and called for a full regime change at the organisation at the Oireachtas Sports Committee.

It was also claimed former chief executive John Delaney is being portrayed as Donald Trump.

The decision by Mr Delaney not to answer questions about his €100,000 loan to the football body citing "legal advice" irked a number of members of the committee.

FAI officials also used the excuse of legal advice and commercial sensitivity when explaining why they could not answer certain questions.

It prompted Fianna Fail TD Robert Troy to claim they had been "evasive, vague, non-committal, ambiguous" in their replies to the committee.

Disrespect

The association's president Donal Conway said he and his colleagues did not set out to show any "disrespect" to anybody.

"What I can and I can't answer, as you well know, will be guided by the advice we have been given," he said.

"If it's about contracts or employees or something that's commercially sensitive or about an individual creditor, if these are the things which I haven't answered directly on and that's called evasive I have no option in that."

Committee chairman Fergus O'Dowd said he believed "regime change" was needed at the FAI and the best thing the board could do was "move on".

Mr Conway said the FAI does not underestimate its responsibilities as a body that receives public funding and it takes the issue of governance very seriously.

Sinn Fein TD Jonathan O'Brien called on the entire FAI board to step down, claiming they have lost the confidence of football supporters.

He added that pressure has to come from within the FAI to oust this leadership after a frustrating day for the Oireachtas committee yesterday.

"It has to be done from within. We can put all the political pressure on them, Sport Ireland can cut their funding, none of us have the power to actually physically remove those board members - they have to do that," Mr O'Brien said.

"And I would ask them, in the best interests of Irish football, and particularly in the best interests of the domestic game, to really consider their positions.

"A lot of them, their positions are not tenable. I mean, you saw the evasion today.

"The honorary treasurer didn't even know how many bank accounts the FAI had. He said: 'One, I think it's one'. There are 24 of them. He wasn't even close."

However, Fianna Fail TD Kevin O'Keeffe claimed Mr Delaney is being portrayed as the "Trump of the FAI" by certain parts of the media which were "gunning" for him.

Earlier, Mr O'Keeffe asked Mr Delaney how his salary was calculated while he was FAI chief executive. Mr Delaney was on a salary of €360,000 in his former role in recent years.

Impossible

Mr Delaney said he would not comment on the process involved but said: "There's always been a sub-committee of the board to set certain salaries."

Mr O'Keeffe asked Mr Delaney if he had taken his "eye off the ball" through his work abroad for Uefa.

Mr Delaney said he has been clear about his busy diaries, adding that he accepted he was "very well paid for it, no better man to accept that".

He said it was impossible to travel around the country visiting people involved in grassroots football, to run a €50m a year business and be in Europe, as well as trying to "spend family time with your kids".