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FAI refuses to confirm if Delaney will appear at Oireachtas hearing

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FAI chief John Delaney provided a €100,000 bridging loan

FAI chief John Delaney provided a €100,000 bridging loan

FAI chief John Delaney provided a €100,000 bridging loan

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has refused to clarify if chief executive John Delaney will attend an Oireachtas Committee hearing next month.

The FAI is before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Sport next month in a long-planned meeting.

The hearing will now see the FAI face questions on a €100,000 bridging loan given by the chief executive to the organisation in 2017.

Last night the FAI said it is to meet Sports Minister Shane Ross and Sport Ireland, the body which distributes State funding for sporting organisations, in relation to the loan.

The organisation has also written to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement offering clarification on any issues raised by the loan and said it will answer any questions on it.

In its statement, the FAI also said it "acknowledges that we are invited to appear in front of the [committee]".

Postponed

However, pressed on whether Mr Delaney will attend, a spokesperson said the organisation was not saying anything beyond what was in its statement and did not answer the direct question.

A meeting in February was postponed due to Mr Delaney and other FAI figures needing to attend a Uefa meeting in Switzerland.

Meanwhile, an invite to members of the committee to a dinner and drinks event just six days before the hearing has been issued by the FAI.

A "gentle reminder" was sent to the committee yesterday after the invite was first extended last Friday.

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock - who sits on the committee - said the timing of the invite is "badly judged" and that attendance by committee members at the U17 Championship draw and the accompanying dinner and drinks would be "inappropriate".

It comes as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar described the loan as "unusual".

"It does seem a bit unusual, a body of that size, given its operations and the funding it receives, I would have thought has banking facilities that would have provided for a loan," he said.

"I know that Sport Ireland and the Oireachtas Committee will want to ask questions about that as to why that came about."

A letter from Sport Ireland's head John Treacy was sent to the FAI on Tuesday and last night the FAI said it had "answered all queries raised".

On Saturday, Mr Delaney said: "This is the only occasion on which I provided the association with a short-term loan."


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