herald

Sunday 17 November 2019

Put 'em under pressure - union and sponsor want FAI answers

SIPTU members who had pay cut 'incensed' that FAI paid €3k a month to rent house for Delaney

Former FAI chief executive John Delaney at Aviva Stadium. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Former FAI chief executive John Delaney at Aviva Stadium. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Irish football's main sponsor, mobile phone company Three, has confirmed that it has been in contact with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) over the controversy over governance at the organisation.

However, as questions mount over finances at the FAI, it has refused to offer any detail on €430,000 remuneration payments to "key management personnel" listed in its accounts.

The news comes as FAI workers are demanding why they were suffering pay cuts when the organisation was reportedly paying €3,000-a-month rent for former chief executive John Delaney.

Revelations

Now, Three has told the Herald that it has been in contact with the FAI in the wake of recent revelations.

"As primary sponsor of the Irish national football team and all international squads, our focus is to promote the game of football for fans and our customers right across the country," it said in a statement.

Three said it was proud to support the Irish team in its bid for Euro 2020 qualification, and added: "We are in contact with the FAI regarding recent matters and will continue to do so."

Mr Delaney, who was on a salary of €360,000, has stepped aside from his role as chief executive amid questions over a €100,000 bridging loan he extended to the FAI in 2017, which was repaid two months later. He is to take up a new job as FAI executive vice president. It was reported that the FAI paid €3,000 each month in rent for Mr Delaney in a Co Wicklow house co-owned by TV star Grainne Seoige, on which he paid benefit-in-kind tax. Separately, FAI accounts for 2017 show that there was payment of "total remuneration for key management" of €430,000 listed under the heading "related part transactions".

There are similar payments listed for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016. The accounts do not say who the payments were made to or how many staff were included.

The Herald asked the FAI for further details on the payments and for a full breakdown of Mr Delaney's total remuneration, including any perks he had been able to avail of. An FAI spokesman said: "We will not be making any comment today."

It also declined to comment on anger among Siptu members who work for the FAI.

The union said its members were "incensed" by the revelation that in 2016 the FAI was paying for Mr Delaney's rent after their wages had been slashed.

"This was during a period when the organisation was claiming to be unable to restore the pay and conditions of employment of our members due to financial constraints," said Siptu organiser Denis Hynes.

The union called on the FAI to immediately make a statement on its "exact financial arrangements" with Mr Delaney.

Shadow

Last night, Niall Quinn ruled himself out of the running to replace Mr Delaney at the FAI.

"Under absolutely no circumstances will I be applying for the job, given the current remit of where this job sits," Quinn said on Virgin Media last night.

"I don't think it reads as a CEO role at all. I think it reads as half a CEO role and anyone going in there will have a huge shadow over them because the departing CEO hasn't departed at all and it would make life very, very difficult.

"Quite frankly, I think it's a little bit of a charade given the scrutiny that was in place.

"The rush of the appointment, the unanimous decision of the board to tell us all late on a Saturday night... that this was great for the association and it was a great move and everyone should back it. We are not buying it, I'm not buying it.

"I will say it again, it's half a CEO role and it's a role, if it stays in its current remit, it's for a gillie," Quinn added.

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