John Delaney has broken his silence over his move from FAI chief to its “executive vice president”, claiming he had been doing three jobs.
In an interview with Tipp FM, he said he has been trying to attend functions and games every weekend and run an organisation with a €50m turnover and 200 staff.
“Then there’s a huge international dimension to the job. I’m on the board of UEFA,” he said.
“We also have a feasibility study along with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for a World Cup bid.
“There are meetings in England next week and that’s making significant progress.
“It really was impossible for one person to do the three jobs. That’s why the FAI commissioned an independent report to split the duties.
“There’s the generation of revenue in other parts of the world which we’ve never really looked at.
“I know there’s a lot we can deliver internationally over the next few years in terms of funding and hosting.”
Sport Ireland (SI) said the FAI has not sufficiently explained the reasons for a €100,000 loan given to it by Mr Delaney.
SI, the body with statutory responsibility for developing sport in Ireland, will appear today before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Tourism, Transport and Sport to discuss its funding of the FAI.
The loan was not disclosed in the organisation’s accounts. The FAI has said it was a bridging loan in relation to cash-flow issues.
However, SI’s chief John Treacy will say today that the organisation does not feel it has received sufficient explanation about the loan and whether the failure to disclose the FAI’s financial position at the time of the loan meets with the conditions of the grant funding given to the organisation.
He will tell TDs and senators that “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 SI’s terms and conditions of grant approval”.
A second SI request for information to further assess if the terms were met has not yet been responded to.
In his statement to the committee, Mr Treacy will move to reassure members the funding handed down to the FAI of around €2.9m a year is accounted for and used properly.
The FAI has been audited by SI’s independent auditors on more occasions than any other sporting organisation and the last three audits – in 2010, 2014 and 2016 – provided SI with “the highest level of assurance”.
Last year, SI raised a query with the FAI in relation to their liquidity position after the organisation secured a €1.3m overdraft in 2017 and their debt position increased that year, but were given reassurances the overdraft was a timing – rather than a liquidity – concern.
Mr Treacy will also reveal SI was not informed by the FAI about governance changes in recent weeks – nor has it seen the report on the basis of which those changes were made.
On March 23, the FAI confirmed Mr Delaney would move to the new role of executive vice president, while Rea Walshe would take up the role of interim chief executive.