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FAI statements didn't reflect board "awareness"

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Embattled John Delaney won't be at the Under-17 European Championships

Embattled John Delaney won't be at the Under-17 European Championships

SPORTSFILE

Embattled John Delaney won't be at the Under-17 European Championships

Cracks have appeared in the façade of the FAI for the first time as a statement from the association's president said that previous statements "did not accurately reflect the Board's level of awareness" around the €100,000 loan from John Delaney.

The FAI have confirmed that former CEO Delaney will be among the four-strong delegation to appear before an Oireachtas committee tomorrow.

There had been speculation over the weekend that Delaney would not attend as he no longer holds the CEO post and there was doubt over who would represent the FAI.

But an FAI statement last night confirmed that the "requested parties" would be there on behalf of the FAI.

Fergus O'Dowd TD, chair of the Oireachtas committee, had asked that Delaney, along with board members Eddie Murray and Paraic Treanor, attend, and interim CEO Rea Walshe to attend.

"The Football Association of Ireland has advised its attendance list for Wednesday's meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport. All requested members of the FAI are included on the list," read a statement issued in the name of FAI president Donal Conway.

In a contrast to the bullish nature of statements which have been issued in the last two weeks by a number of leagues and clubs which defended Delaney and claimed that those leagues supported the plan for Delaney to remain involved with the FAI as Executive Vice President, last night's missive from the FAI was more measured.

Conway was quoted as saying that the FAI "recognises and shares the desire for the matters to be addressed" and "acknowledges the misgivings raised by Sport Ireland and the Oireachtas Committee last week is also cognisant of the concerns of the Football Family and all stakeholders".

The FAI also stated that, aside from a probe of their affairs by Mazar's, they have "urgently engaged Grant Thornton to conduct an internal review of the Association's books, records and ledgers".

But the most telling part of the 506-word statement was the acknowledgement of an issue over the FAI's stance on the controversial 2017 deal where Delaney loaned the association €100,000, a loan which was repaid weeks later.

"The Association has advised Sport Ireland that we are moving as fast as we can, being mindful of the complexity involved and the need to ensure that all statements we make are accurate and processes are fair and robust.

"We also advised that some recent comments made by the FAI did not accurately reflect the Board's level of awareness of the existence of the €100,000 issue in 2017.

"This matter is being considered by the Board sub-committee," added Conway's statement.

Delaney and the FAI will appear before that committee tomorrow at 10am, proceedings to be streamed live by the Oireachtas website.