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Dublin: 2 °C Friday 15 November, 2019

'Disgraceful' - Ex-FAI boss calls for investigation into association's ticketing deals

Brendan Menton also believes Fifa should step in to take temporary control of the FAI through a normalisation committee.

Menton alongside Mick McCarthy during the 2002 World Cup.
Menton alongside Mick McCarthy during the 2002 World Cup.
Image: INPHO

FORMER FAI TREASURER and general secretary Brendan Menton has called for Fifa to step in following the recent financial scandal involving former chief executive John Delaney.

Menton, who resigned from the FAI after the Genesis Report in 2002, also believes a thorough investigation into the association’s ticket deals with English businessman Marcus Evans is needed. 

In a lengthy, hard-hitting article published on earlier this week, the economist claimed that the current FAI board “imbibed power and fiddled while Irish football crashed and burned”. 

The ex-Fifa development consultant suggested reform with the assistance of the world football governing body, who can impose a normalisation committee on the association. 

This allows Fifa to intervene and take control temporarily in exceptional circumstances when member associations aren’t complying with the Fifa Statutes. 

Yesterday, The Irish Sun reported that Fifa has written to the FAI to clarify possible state interference in the running of the association after Sport Ireland froze funding in light of John Delaney’s 2017 bridging loan being exposed and the recent Oireachtas committee hearings.  

Speaking to Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ Radio One this morning, Menton said: 

I think the best solution is that Fifa come in and appoint this normalisation committee of independent people to restructure the association over a period of 15 months. 

“In my piece, I asked the FAI president Donal Conway to lead this process instead of Fifa coming to chase the FAI. You go to Fifa, explain and ask for their help. But my fear is that is going to be ignored.”

Menton also feels strongly that deals between the FAI and a company owned by Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans should be looked into in great detail, after The Sunday Times reported earlier this month that Fifa are investigating both parties in relation to how tickets were distributed for the 2010 World Cup. 

“I think this investigation of the FAI has to go a lot further,” he said. “It has to include the ticket deal between the FAI and Marcus Evans Limited, which Mark Tighe exposed two weeks ago. 

“12.5% of tickets for Irish away matches going to a corporate hospitality company? 25% of tickets for [European Championships and World Cups in] Poland, possibly for France? That’s disgraceful.”

The entire FAI board has signalled their intent to resign at the AGM in July. Asked if that would be sufficient, Menton replied: 

My suspicion is that they will all seek re-election. For those who are old enough to remember, this reminds me of the Merriongate ticket scandal of 1996, when the officers resigned and stood for re-election. 

“I think all the board members and all the council members are complicit. What about the role of the company secretaries in all of this? They are supposed to have a check and balance role. What have they been doing over the last number of years? And they are still involved in sport in this country. 

“I think they should have no role in the future of football. The council are appointed by members as their watchdog, but they fell asleep.”

Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella are joined by Andy Dunne to get stuck into last weekend’s Champions Cup semi-finals.:

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Ben Blake

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