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Sport Ireland has decided to suspend and withhold future funding to the FAI

The body said the FAI did not comply with Sport Ireland’s Terms & Conditions of Grant Approval.

CEO of Sport Ireland John Treacy.
CEO of Sport Ireland John Treacy.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

SPORT IRELAND HAS decided to suspend and withhold future funding to the Football Association of Ireland.

In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, the body said: “The Board of Sport Ireland at its meeting today (April 9th) has decided to suspend and withhold future funding to the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) in accordance with Clause 1.1 of Sport Ireland’s Terms and Conditions of Grant Approval.

“The decision was taken in light of an acknowledgement by the FAI in its written opening statement to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport tomorrow that in 2017 the FAI did not comply with Clause 4.3 of Sport Ireland’s Terms & Conditions of Grant Approval.”

The Board of Sport Ireland said it will consider the reinstatement of funding once all ongoing reports commissioned by the FAI have been completed and the recommendations adopted.

Sport Ireland also confirmed that it will continue to provide non-financial assistance and guidance to the FAI, which it said may be helpful in advancing matters.

Shortly after Tuesday’s announcement, the FAI released a statement acknowledging Sport Ireland’s decision to cut funding, describing the move as unfortunate.

FAI President Donal Conway said: “The €2.7million funding Sport Ireland provides annually to the FAI is crucial to the development of an inclusive approach to football in Ireland.

Donal Conway FAI President Donal Conway said Sport Ireland's decision was unfortunate. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“As indicated at its meeting with Sport Ireland last Friday and in recent correspondence, the Association is keen to restore trust and confidence and rebuild the relationship with Sport Ireland as soon as possible.

He continued: “The Association has committed to take all appropriate steps in this regard. I am fully confident that through the processes now in place, we will be in a position to satisfy Sport Ireland in relation to both governance and financial issues and ensure that the 50% balance of funding due for 2019 is restored at the appropriate time.”

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock welcomed Sport Ireland’s decision, reflecting that cutting FAI funding was an appropriate move in order to safeguard taxpayer’s money.

Given the FAIs lack of full disclosure, I believe it is appropriate to safeguard taxpayer’s money in the short term and bring about the corporate governance changes and financial transparency that are necessary to safeguard the long-term future of football on this island,” Deputy Rock said.

“Ireland has had enough of shoddy corporate governance – it’s time to grow up. This is a welcome and necessary move from Sport Ireland and one which was necessary given the unwillingness and inability of the FAI to be forthright with Sport Ireland despite having a variety of opportunities to do so.”

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Aaron Gallagher

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