The ongoing fallout to the revelations that former FAI chief executive John Delaney loaned the FAI €100,000 in 2017 continued today as Sport Ireland announced its decision to 'suspend and withhold future funding' to the FAI - thought to be upward on €2.9 million per annum.
The announcement comes ahead of tomorrow's appearance of John Delaney and other notable figures in the FAI including president of the FAI board president Donal Conway and interim CEO Rea Walshe before the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport.
In preliminary statements ahead of that meeting that were seen by RTE, Conway is believed to have admitted that the FAI had breached Sport Ireland rules around notifying the body about 'material deterioration in its financial position' outlined in Clause 4.3 of the 'Further Reporting' section of the FAI's annual terms and conditions.
Conway is believed to have written the following:
We acknowledge that certain circumstances arose in April 2017 which were not reported to Sport Ireland. We will work with Sport Ireland in order to establish a process to ensure the FAI are, in future, fully compliant with clause 4.3.
Sport Ireland said they would consider reinstating FAI funding 'once all ongoing reports commissioned by the FAI have been completed and the recommendations adopted'.
You can read the statement in full here:
The Board of Sport Ireland at its meeting today (April 9th) has decided to suspend and withhold future funding to the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) in accordance with Clause 1.1 of Sport Ireland’s Terms and Conditions of Grant Approval.
The decision was taken in light of an acknowledgement by the FAI in its written opening statement to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport tomorrow that in 2017 the FAI did not comply with Clause 4.3 of Sport Ireland’s Terms & Conditions of Grant Approval.
Clause 4.3 specifically relates to ‘Further Reporting’:
“In addition each organisation undertakes to notify Sport Ireland in writing without delay in the event of any material deterioration in its financial position or of any other matter which may jeopardise the organisation’s overall financial viability and/or its ability to comply with its commitments in the Approved Submission, and thereafter to provide Sport Ireland with such information and documentation as Sport Ireland may request in connection with the relevant matter and any steps being taken to rectify it.”
In making the decision to suspend and withhold funding, the Board of Sport Ireland notes that the FAI has already been paid 50% of its 2019 funding to date and some positive steps taken by the FAI in recent days.
This decision will be reviewed by the Board of Sport Ireland as a standing item at each of its future meetings.
The Board of Sport Ireland will consider the reinstatement of funding once all ongoing reports commissioned by the FAI have been completed and the recommendations adopted, and the Board of Sport Ireland is satisfied that all necessary processes and controls are in place to ensure the FAI’s ongoing compliance with the Terms and Conditions of Grant Approval.
Sport Ireland will continue to provide non-financial assistance and guidance to the FAI, which may be helpful in advancing matters
The FAI has issued their own statement in reply, which describes the decision as 'unfortunate'.
The Board of the Football Association of Ireland notes the decision of Sport Ireland to suspend and withhold the balance of funding due in 2019, as conveyed by letter this afternoon. It is unfortunate that Sport Ireland now feel compelled to take this action in the wake of recent events.
The €2.7million funding Sport Ireland provides annually to the FAI is crucial to the development of an inclusive approach to football in Ireland. As indicated at its meeting with Sport Ireland last Friday and in recent correspondence, the Association is keen to restore trust and confidence and rebuild the relationship with Sport Ireland as soon as possible.
The Association has committed to take all appropriate steps in this regard. I am fully confident that through the processes now in place, we will be in a position to satisfy Sport Ireland in relation to both governance and financial issues and ensure that the 50% balance of funding due for 2019 is restored at the appropriate time.