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Dublin: 9°C Saturday 28 November 2020

'Severe' job losses feared for FAI staff with 'hard nut' Cooke set to reveal extent of financial woes

More bad news expected at the association’s Dublin HQ tomorrow after primary shirt sponsor Three Ireland announced it wouldn’t be renewing its deal.

Newly-installed executive lead of the FAI, Paul Cooke.
Newly-installed executive lead of the FAI, Paul Cooke.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

FAI STAFF FEAR there will be “severe” job losses early in the New Year after a meeting with the association’s newly-appointed executive lead, Paul Cooke, left them in little doubt that significant cuts will be coming in 2020.

Ahead of tomorrow’s publication of the financial accounts for 2017 and 2018, Cooke has been described as a “hard nut” who is ready to make the toughest decisions following his no-nonsense briefing at FAI headquarters.

Details of former chief executive John Delaney’s severance package, reported to be in the region of €370,000, will also be laid bare by Cooke tomorrow. 

Yesterday, in a meeting with members of the 12-person committee known as the “FAI Connect” — an internal group set up to represent the association’s 200 employees and not just members of the trade union Siptu — Cooke made it clear that next year will be a rough one for the association. 

While Siptu already called for an urgent meeting with Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross, after his department confirmed that government funding will not be restored until the appointment of four independent directors and a CEO, The42 has been informed that those employees who are not members of the trade union are also determined to be part of that summit with Minister Ross.

With in excess of €1 million of the FAI’s annual €2.9m grant outstanding for this year alone, staff are keen to make their case for its restoration in an attempt at damage control heading into the new year.

Cooke, who was yesterday confirmed as the FAI’s executive lead after John Foley  decided at the last minute to reject taking up the position of interim CEO, is understood to have made it clear to staff that job losses will be a consequence unless government funding can be restored.

Cooke’s appointment has not gone down well with Minster Ross, who has made it abundantly clear that he wants the FAI to sever links with its former CEO.

Cooke was a member of the FAI National Council during Delaney’s tenure and also worked with him at Waterford in the 1990s.

Cooke will now report to current FAI president Donal Conway, another stalwart of the Delaney era, and this is another major stumbling block for the minister.

Morale among staff has plummeted in recent days and tomorrow will only shine a further light on the mess the FAI finds itself in.

With so much on the agenda for Cooke, the announcement from primary shirt sponsor ‘Three Ireland’ that they would not be renewing their partnership beyond next summer is another major blow.

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The42 has learned that Three had been compiling a list of all news reports relating to the FAI ever since the Sunday Times reported on 17 March how Delaney sought a High Court injunction to stop them publishing details of the €100,000 bridging loan he provided to his employers in 2017.

The revelations continued and tomorrow the FAI will lay bare the true extent of their financial difficulties.

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