herald

Saturday 25 January 2020

Rock bottom

FAI reveal €55m debt but defend Delaney deal as staff await cuts

FAI chief Paul Cooke admits that the association are at "rock bottom" as they try to cope with a staggering debt of €55million.

And there are more blows on the way for the crisis-ridden association as another sponsor, fast food company Rustlers, have indicated they are withdrawing from their deal with the FAI, just days after main sponsor Three said they were not renewing their contract.

The FAI have published their updated accounts, which show liabilities of €55m and bank debts of €29m.

Details of the €462,000 payoff to former CEO John Delaney, caused anger at grassroots level.

President Donal Conway said he and the rest of the board were unaware that a sub-committee of the board had agreed a €2 million pension and a €1m 'loyalty bonus' with Delaney.

Asked if the FAI had reached rock bottom, interim FAI chief Cooke said "I think so". He added that a refinancing package can help the FAI survive in the short-term.

But Cooke defended the cost of the deal to cut ties with Delaney.

"If the two contracts ran for the full course, we'd have potential liability for €3m. We settled that for €462k,"Cooke said.

He refused to outline the extent of proposed cuts to the FAI budget, with job cuts expected.

"When we have our loan financed, or our refinancing, the FAI council will be authorising that, and I think in fairness we have the right to tell our staff and our council members first," Cooke said.

Conway announced yesterday that he was stepping down as president after an EGM next month, and his exit could ease relations between the FAI and the government.

The FAI plan to meet Sport Ireland next week, with a view to having their annual funding of €2.7m restored.

But Minister for Sport Shane Ross has once again stated that the remnants of the previous board must move on.

"I think it's very important that we send a clear message," Ross said.

"The government funding is not going to follow the usual suspects being appointed".

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