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Treacy declines to express confidence in FAI board

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John Delaney

John Delaney

SPORTSFILE

John Delaney

A week before their own appearance before a cross-party Oireachtas committee on sport, the FAI have been left in no doubt about the level of unhappiness among politicians about the way that affairs are being run in Abbotstown.

And in words which will carry weight, and also turn the pressure on the 10-person board of directors of the FAI as well as ex-CEO John Delaney, before the FAI appear before that Oireachtas committee in six days' time, the head of Sport Ireland, John Treacy, said he was unable to say that the FAI board had his support.

Treacy was head of a two-person delegation from Sport Ireland, which controls the annual €2.9m of government funds given to the FAI every year, at a commitee meeting yesterday.

Over four hours, Treacy and Kieran Mulvey were grilled by a number of Oireachtas members, with TDs Noel Rock and Catherine Murphy giving a hint of the questions they have in mind for the FAI next week.

Treacy outlined Sport Ireland's unhappiness with the FAI's lack of clarity on the €100,000 loan it received, and repaid, in 2017 from ex-CEO Delaney, in a letter from the FAI as late as Tuesday evening.

"The letter does not provide any explanation on the circumstances of the loan and its repayment. The board of the FAI has not provided any legitimate reason to why it cannot provide the information requested," Treacy said.

"In the absence of adjudication as to whether the terms and conditions of grant approval have been complied with, we still await an explanation on the circumstances around the loan and its repayment.

"We were extremely disappointed by the letter.

"We are asking questions. We aren't getting answers. What we have got today is totally inadequate."

Sinn Fein TD Imelda Munster asked four times whether Treacy retained confidence in the board of the FAI. He eventually replied: "Well I'm not saying, yes."

Sport Ireland agreed that the proposed change at the top of the FAI, where Delaney would step aside as CEO and leave his position on the board but still attend board meetings and also continue to represent the FAI with UEFA and FIFA, was "irregular" and Treacy said he was "surprised" that Sport Ireland were not consulted on the new FAI arrangement.

"Today is not a good day for sport to be in here talking about governance within the FAI," Treacy told the committee.

"You have the FAI coming in. You can put those questions to the FAI. I strongly suggest you do that."