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Independent audit of FAI pushed back to 'review extra material' following Delaney's departure

Sport Ireland has requested its scheduled appearance at an Oireachtas committee later this month be delayed.

Former FAI CEO John Delaney
Former FAI CEO John Delaney
Image: Brian Lawless/PA Images

SPORT IRELAND HAS said that the independent audit into the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) will not be completed next week as planned following John Delaney’s resignation from the FAI at the weekend.

In a letter to the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport – seen by TheJournal.ie – Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy said that the independent auditors had requested more time to complete the audit in the wake of Delaney’s departure.

Sport Ireland officials had then been due to address the committee on Wednesday 16 October on issues surrounding governance of the FAI but Treacy asked that this now also be put back given recent developments.

TheJournal.ie understands that the committee meeting now will be moved to an alternate date, and that Sport Ireland will examine the arrangements around John Delaney’s severance package.

The former FAI CEO had held the top job at for 14 years, and ended his long association with the organisation at the weekend. 

In March, Delaney was moved to the newly-created role of Executive Vice President of the FAI following revelations in the Sunday Times that he had given a loan of €100,000 to the organisation in 2017. 

In a series of statements in the days and weeks afterwards, the FAI said that the €100,000 was to cover a “short-term cash flow issue” and was a “bridging loan”. 

Sport Ireland had originally sought urgent clarification over the matter and later suspended State funding it provides to the FAI

It appointed KOSI Corporation in May to conduct an “extensive” audit of the FAI and a draft of that audit was due to be completed next week.

In recent months, it’s understood that extensive talks were being held between Delaney and the FAI over the details of his severance package. 

Talks between both parties intensified over a five-day period last week, it’s understood they were concluded late on Saturday night, hence the fact a statement was released at 11.14pm.

The pay-off is understood to be €350,000, which is a big chunk of money but considerably less than the €3 million Delaney is believed to have initially asked for. Vice-President Paul Cooke, elected at July’s AGM, led the FAI’s negotiation.

Sport Ireland’s Treacy told the Oireachtas committee in his letter today that these developments have changed the timeline of when it now expects the audit to be completed.

He said: “In light of developments in recent days, KOSI have requested additional time to seek and review extra material from the FAI.

Given the vital importance of this matter, this request for additional time has been granted by Sport Ireland.

Treacy then outlined how the report will be considered by its legal advisors before the final report is sent to Sport Ireland.

“In circumstances where the audit process has not concluded, Sport Ireland considers that the meeting on 16 October to discuss FAI matters is premature,” he added. This date is now set to be pushed back, pending the audit’s completion. 

With reporting from Gavin Cooney

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Sean Murray

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