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FAI request postponement of return appearance before Oireachtas Committee

The Association were due at government buildings on 16 October, a day after Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifier away to Switzerland.

Rea Walshe, Donal Conway and John Delaney arrive for an appearance before the Oireachtas Commitee in March.
Rea Walshe, Donal Conway and John Delaney arrive for an appearance before the Oireachtas Commitee in March.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Updated Oct 4th 2019, 8:23 PM

THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION of Ireland have requested the postponing of a scheduled appearance before the Oireachtas Commitee on Sport later this month, the football body has confirmed in a statement this evening. 

In a letter to the Committee, the FAI’s Chief Operating Officer Rea Walshe requested the scheduled appearance on 16 October be postponed given that some FAI staff members will be in Geneva at that time, attending Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifying game with Switzerland the day previous.

The Committee invited Ms. Walshe, interim General Manager Noel Mooney and “any other appropriate representatives” of the FAI to appear before them on 16 October, but Ms. Walshe wrote to the Committee today to say “unfortunately, not all appropriate representatives are available” on that date, as some will be travelling back from Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Switzerland on that date. 

In the letter, Ms. Walshe also noted the fact Sport Ireland have requested that their appearance before the Committee on the same day be postponed and rescheduled for a date after the publication of an independent audit of the FAI. 

The FAI have asked the Committee to wait until the audit is published before they issue another invitation. 

Having suspended State funding to the FAI in April, Sport Ireland announced in May the hiring of Northern Ireland firm KOSI to conduct an independent, forensic audit of the FAI to assess the football body’s fitness to handle public funds. 

That audit was due to be published on 7 October, but KOSI this week requested and were granted additional time to review material in light of recent developments at the FAI. These developments are understood to be related to last weekend’s resignation of Executive Vice-President John Delaney. 

“We also note Sport Ireland have requested that their meeting scheduled for the same day be postponed until after the release of the KOSI report and we would ask the same”, wrote Ms Walshe, “particularly in circumstances where our independent Directors including the Independent Chair are due to be appointed in the coming weeks.” 

The results of a review of the FAI’s governance structures – their implementation being among the requirements for the restoration of State funding – recommended that four members of the FAI’s new 12-person board be external, independent candidates. 

Recruitment firm Amrop have whittled down more than 150 applications to a shortlist of 12 candidates for interview. They will then recommend the final four for ratification to the board of the FAI. 

Committee sources did not indicate an alternative date for the FAI’s appearance, and a rescheduled date for the completion of the KOSI audit has yet to be set. 

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Gavin Cooney

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