Irish sports ministry unsympathetic to FAI’s plea for €18m to keep it afloat

December 19 – The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has requested an €18 million bailout from the Irish government amid the financial meltdown that is threatening to bankrupt the governing body.

The body that oversees football in Ireland has debt of €62 million once funding and loans owed to UEFA are taken into account on top the FAI’s already stated €55 million debt.

While the sports ministry is  examining the implications of a liquidation of the FAI, Irish sports minister Shane Ross Ross said that he wanted to “avoid that at all costs” as it would have grave ramifications for football across the board in Ireland. However, he insisted that the government will not simply handover taxpayer’s money to the FAI.

Ross disclosed in parliament that the FAI “came seeking a bailout” with various scenarios in mind, but underpinned by a need for €18 million.  “They sought, they named that figure, it was shocking,” commented Ross.

It was revealed that an independent audit of the FAI found the association was not fit to handle public funds. Ross told the Oireachtas Sports Committee that “while I have been advised that to share the full details of the KOSI auditors’ findings would be unlawful, I can confirm that their opinion is that the FAI is not fit to handle public funds. They acknowledge that some steps have been taken to address shortcomings, but there is a steep mountain to climb before we can reinstate funding to the FAI.”

The FAI was absent from the committee’s meeting, because FAI officials argued that they needed to focus exclusively on the association’s troubled finances, as well as promised governance reforms. It was the second time in as many weeks that the football administrators refused to participate.

Last month it was revealed former chief executive John Delaney had been given a severance package of €462,000 following allegations of financial misconduct that saw him stand down from his FAI role. He remains on UEFA’s executive committee.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1582400184labto1582400184ofdlr1582400184owedi1582400184sni@o1582400184fni1582400184