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Dublin: 12°C Thursday 15 April 2021

FAI say redundancies now unlikely as they receive financial rescue package

Shane Ross insists that the government have not bailed out the FAI.

Niall Quinn and Shane Ross at today's announcement.
Niall Quinn and Shane Ross at today's announcement.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION of Ireland are confident there will be few, if any redundancies at the organisation in light of agreeing a financial rescue package with the government, Uefa, and Bank of Ireland. 

The government have doubled State funding to the organisation over the next three years – the FAI will now receive €5.8 million – and have also agreed to hand the FAI an annual interest-free loan of €2.5446 million across the next three years to meet their debt obligations on the Aviva Stadium. 

This loan will be repayable from 2024, although the date by which it must be repaid has not yet been agreed. 

It is a total commitment of almost €20 million across three years, although comes with a number of strings attached. Among the conditions is a guarantee from the FAI that low to middle-income employees will be insulated from mandatory redundancy over the next 18 months. 

FAI Vice-President Paul Cooke informed staff of the FAI’s dire financial situation last month, and warned that there would be “consequences”, which was taken to mean job losses. 

That prospect is now at least in abeyance if not fully eliminated. 

“I can never say there is never going to be redundancies”, Interim FAI CEO Gary Owens told reporters at the announcement, “but today I’m very confident there will be very few, if any [redundancies] in relation to what we’re doing.” 

The contributions made by Uefa and Bank of Ireland to the FAI’s relief fund have not been disclosed at their request. Denis Basari of Uefa and Tom Hayes of Bank of Ireland were present at today’s meeting between all parties at the Department of Sport on Leeson Street, and asked that their contribution not be disclosed. 

“I entered into an agreement to give us the funding for what I think is required to bring us forward and all the stakeholders have asked not to disclose that”, said Owens. 

Sports Minister Shane Ross, meanwhile, insisted that this was not a bailout of the FAI. 

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“It’s certainly not a bailout. There are strict conditions. We are increasing the funding we are already giving. It’s quite the opposite to a bailout, it’s a highly conditioned loan and grant.”

Niall Quinn, now the Interim Deputy CEO of the FAI, hailed the agreement, which ringfenced €800,000 for the development of the League of Ireland and the Women’s National League. 

“We’re going to jump on that opportunity and the ability we have been given”, said Quinn. The power of football will come home and resonate far more loudly than the shadow that has cast itself over it over the last year.

 ”You will see a new association with new a culture and a love from people who had to put up with so much in the last year. We start to move forward today. 

“Football in this country can now really rise, with the League of Ireland becoming more prominent and getting treated much better than in the past.”

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Gavin Cooney

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