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Thursday 21 November 2019

UEFA send finance man in to probe FAI

Noel Mooney
Noel Mooney

One of UEFA's top financial experts will begin work at the FAI shortly as part of the effort to aid the recovery of the embattled association.

Czech native Josef Koller, UEFA's Finance Director, will be dispatched by the European body to FAI HQ to oversee the financial strategy. UEFA official Noel Mooney had already been sent on secondment to the FAI to assist in their recovery plan.

UEFA have pledged backing to the tune of €8million to the FAI as the organisation deals with the biggest crisis in its history, and they were keen to have Koller in place to oversee progress.

Koller has had previous dealings with the FAI, as he brokered a 2013 deal involving then CEO John Delaney and Danske Bank where UEFA gave the FAI a multi-million euro advance on "solidarity payments" which was used to pay towards the debts on the Aviva Stadium.

The FAI is currently the subject of five separate investigations into their financial and governance affairs, sparked by a report of a €100,000 loan to the FAI from former CEO John Delaney.

The first report, compiled by Mazars, will be ready within five weeks, FAI president Donal Conway told staff this week at Abbotstown.

Limerick-born Mooney, who moved to UEFA from the FAI in 2012, will not begin his new role as the effective head of the FAI for another 11 days but he has already held talks with Niall Quinn over his plans for a revamp of the League of Ireland.

Former international Quinn has spoken of his plan to bring on board investors who want to overhaul the domestic league and while the FAI initially had a cautious approach to Quinn's proposal, the fact that Mooney has spoken to Quinn means that the project has moved closer.

Quinn is expected to speak at a public forum on the future of Irish football, organised by Minister for Sport Shane Ross, in the Mansion House on Friday week.

Mooney has also spoken to Stephen McGuinness, General Secretary of the PFAI. Former FAI CEO John Delaney did not hold a formal meeting with McGuinness for five years as relations between the two bodies, who work out of the same offices in Abbotstown, deteriorated. But interim CEO Rea Walshe did meet McGuinness and a PFAI delegation two weeks ago.

Submissions from the public and FAI staff to the FAI's governance review closed on Monday and the FAI board will assess those before deciding on whether to hold an EGM before July's AGM.

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