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Dublin: 17 °C Wednesday 5 August, 2020

All Irish sports bodies to disclose CEO's pay to Sport Ireland in light of FAI fiasco

After all of the controversy at Abbottstown, the State body are beefing up their terms and conditions to avoid a repeat elsewhere.

FAI president Donal Conway (left) with John Delaney (right).
FAI president Donal Conway (left) with John Delaney (right).
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

SPORT IRELAND ARE beefing up their terms and conditions for the granting of State aid to National sports governing bodies in Ireland in light of the fiasco at the FAI. 

Having frozen the FAI’s State funding in April, citing the football body’s failure to disclose details of the €100,000 bridging loan from then-CEO John Delaney in April 2017 as breaking agreed terms and conditions, Sport Ireland agreed at meetings on 28 May and 4 July this year to add further to those rules. 

They will become effective for grant aid to be dispensed next year.

Among the most eye-catching reforms is the requirement that governing bodies disclose the full remuneration package paid to their CEOs or equivalent. 

The salary of John Delaney, who has voluntarily stepped aside from the FAI while an investigation is conducted, was a particularly contentious issue in Irish football. Before stepping into a new role as Executive Vice-President in March, Delaney’s annual salary was €360,000, having once been as high as €450,000.

Further to that, The Sunday Times revealed in March this year that the FAI had been paying the €3,000-per-month rent on Delaney’s home since 2016. 

Delaney has been irked in the past that his salary has been public knowledge while that of his counterparts in the GAA and IRFU has not, but under the new rules, they will at least be submitted to Sport Ireland. 

Elsewhere, Sport Ireland’s new terms will allow them extend a full audit, inspection or investigation into any matter of concern within an organisation in receipt of State funding. Previously, Sport Ireland could only audit issues directly related to the use of State money, and had found no issues with the FAI in this respect. 

It will also be an explicit condition of funding that Sport Ireland’s auditors are entitled to ask for and receive all of the information necessary to conduct that audit, and all bodies will have until the end of 2021 to provide independent verification that their standards of corporate governance are in line with a Sport Ireland-approved Code. 

Key Sport Ireland personnel will appear before an Oireachtas Committee on Sport on Wednesday, where CEO John Treacy will reassert the importance of the voting delegates at the FAI AGM on 27 July voting to accept the structural reforms recommended by the FAI-Sport Ireland Governance Review Group. 

Should they be accepted, an oversight group will be set-up to ensure they are implemented.

Sport Ireland have picked two of its members – Joe O’Leary, who was a member of the initial Governance Review Group, and experienced business consultant Angelo McNeive.

The restoration of State funding to the FAI requires these structural reforms be adopted, but Sport Ireland will also assess whether the football body are in line with these new terms and conditions before turning back on the tap.

Among the many reviews and investigations ongoing at the FAI at the moment is a full, independent audit commissioned by Sport Ireland and conducted by KOSI, which is assessing the FAI’s financial position and their fitness to handle public funds. 

This audit is expected to be completed in September. 

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Gavin Cooney

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