Football

Brady And Sadlier Slam FAI Board Amid 'Scandalous And Despicable' Situation

Brady And Sadlier Slam FAI Board Amid 'Scandalous And Despicable' Situation

Both Richie Sadlier and Liam Brady were highly critical on Tuesday evening of the FAI board and how they allowed John Delaney to act with impunity during his time as CEO of the association.

It emerged in recent days that the FAI is heavily in debt and in major risk of insolvency.

"It's scandalous, it's despicable what's gone on," Liam Brady told RTÉ during their Champions League coverage.

The football community in Ireland deserves a hell of a lot better.

The CEO John Delaney was allowed become a law unto himself. Whether it was down to incompetence or cronyism... they just never questioned him, they never made him accountable.

They are the board. He's an employee of the board and they never asked any serious questions because he ruled with an iron fist; he hand chose the people surrounding him.

If you go back to Aviva Stadium and the debacle of the season tickets, any other CEO would have lost his job after how badly misjudged that was. That was the start of the FAI finances becoming a terrible state.

One councillor who I know told me that these annual AGMs were a bit like a meeting for Kim Jong-il, the [North] Korean leader, in as much as that if anyone stopped clapping John Delaney first, [he] was likely to lose his job. It's true! He wouldn't allow the press to ask any questions.

What amazes me is that these people are having an input going forward on decisions. I think there is no way they should be involved. The Minister [for Sport] Shane Ross has said so but he has to overcome the situation where UEFA and FIFA don't want political interference in the associations.

On Tuesday, the FAI released a statement saying it would be unable to accept an invitation from the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport to appear before it on Wednesday.

"Like so many examples before, there is yet again a mismatch between the stated intentions of the FAI and their actions," said Sadlier.

"The board seem to be complicit or staggeringly incompetent. They signed off on contracts from John Delaney and we're led to believe they didn't read the contracts before they signed them. The people who were in charge of Irish football, whose job it was to develop the game, have left the place in ruins; John Delaney and the board, that's their legacy at the moment.

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"What we do know is that John Delaney - with a straight face - told the AGM last summer that the choice of being debt free by next year was still available to the FAI. We now know what is a contemptible claim. I'm looking for any crumb of confidence to latch onto the people who are there at the moment.

"Donal Conway said the other day, 'Let's turn the page, this is a new chapter'. Noel Mooney said the week before that he was frustrated that the gardaí are being shown the report because it delays the reforms.

"These are not the comments of people who are grasping the enormity of the situation.

"As it stands, my sense is we still don't how bleak this scenario is. I think there's still more details to come out. Trying to measure the true impact of what's gone on, or what Irish football is going to look like for the coming years, we're in no position to fully understand."

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PJ Browne
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