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FAI say they had 'utilised all funding' at time of €100k loan in response to unanswered questions

The Association have not responded to all of the outstanding issues, however.

The FAI delegation arrive at Leinster House last Wednesday.
The FAI delegation arrive at Leinster House last Wednesday.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

THE FAI SAY they had “utilised all funding” across their bank accounts at the time that John Delaney paid the Association a €100,000 bridging loan in 2017.

That confirmation came in a letter from interim FAI CEO Rea Walshe to the Oireachtas Committee on Sport this evening – seen by The42 – in which Ms. Walshe responds to a number of questions left outstanding from last Wednesday’s meeting. 

An FAI statement yesterday promised to respond to the Oireachtas on these questions by close of business today, having clarified that they “researched that information” following the meeting. 

Among the questions left unanswered was posed by Senator Mark Daly, who asked if there any funds available in any of the FAI bank accounts separate to the main account, which required a bridging loan from then-CEO Delaney to avoid a potential breach of overdraft. 

“At the time the Association was provided with the €100,000 loan, it had utilised all available funding across its bank accounts”, wrote Ms. Walshe in response.

Elsewhere, she declined to confirm the category of payment that led to a potential breach of overdraft, saying that is “commercially sensitive information.” 

Ms. Walshe did respond to a question asking why the FAI’s overdraft limit was reduced from €1.9 million to €1.5 million between 2015 and 2017, explaining that an amendment to the overdraft limit was part of a financing restructure: in 2013 the FAI moved their overdraft facility from Danske Bank to Bank of Ireland, while in 2016 the Association refinanced its bank loans from Corporate Capital Trust to Bank of Ireland. 

Ms. Walshe also confirmed that the Association holds an active tax clearance certificate, saying that this “confirms all current and prior tax affairs are in order”, and that the cheque stubs relating to Mr. Delaney’s bridging loan and subsequent reimbursement were made available to the Association’s auditors. 

She confirmed the €100,000 loan was paid into the Association’s deposit account, and was then transferred into the main current account, which holds the €1.5 million overdraft limit. 

She further clarified that the reason the €100,000 loan was not recorded in the monthly financial reports as it did not affect the Association’s Profit and Loss account, which is the primary purpose of that monthly report.

She said the loan was included on the Balance Sheet, which Ms. Walshe confirmed is reviewed on a monthly basis by the finance team. 

Not all of the outstanding questions have been answered, however.

A question posed by Robert Troy, asking for clarification on who signed off on a statement on the 18 March incorrectly stating that the FAI Board “has been kept fully informed in relation to this matter at all times” was not referenced in Ms. Walshe’s letter to the Committee.

It was revealed during the Oireachtas meeting that only three members of the Board – then-CEO John Delaney, then-president Tony Fitzgerald and then-Honorary Secretary Michael Cody – knew of the loan at the time it was issued. The rest of the Board were informed of the issue on 4 March this year. 

During the meeting, the FAI’s Director of Communications Cathal Dervan told Deputy Troy he was “quite happy to come back to you with an answer to that question after I return to Abbottstown” on the matter, but Deputy Troy has confirmed that he is yet to receive a personal response to his question.

Speaking to The42 tonight, Deputy Troy said that it’s an “absolute disgrace” that he has yet to receive an answer, and says it “further demonstrates that the Board is continuing with evasiveness and that we need a full clear-out of the cartel.” 

The FAI confirmed earlier today that John Delaney has offered to step aside from his role as Executive Vice-President, pending an independent investigation into matters of concern expressed by the FAI Board. It was also announced that Cody and Honorary Treasurer Eddie Murray have resigned from the Board. 

The Oireachtas Committee reconvenes tomorrow for a meeting with Sport Ireland, with CEO John Treacy planning to set out the terms by which the FAI’s state funding will be restored. 

Minister for Sport Shane Ross will also be in attendance. 

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Gavin Cooney

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