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Sport Ireland claims 'drip feed' of media reports about FAI is harming attempts to reform organisation

It follows another revelation about the FAI and its former CEO.

Kieran Mulvey
Kieran Mulvey
Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

SPORT IRELAND CHAIRMAN Kieran Mulvey has claimed the “continual drip feed” of reports about the Football Association of Ireland is hindering efforts to reform the organisation.

Kieran Mulvey hit out at ongoing media reports about the association during a panel discussion on the Marian Finucane show on RTÉ Radio 1 this morning.

It came after the latest in a series of revelations about the FAI and its former CEO John Delaney – stretching back to 17 March – in The Sunday Times.

A report in the newspaper today claims that the association paid €60,000 in “professional fees” in 2013 and 2014 to a woman it describes as Delaney’s girlfriend at the time.

The woman denies receiving payments from both the FAI and Delaney.

However, Mulvey said such reports were causing difficulties for organisations such as Sport Ireland who were trying to address the association’s governance issues.

“I think that continuous release of information… the continual drip feed of this is going to create terrible difficulties for those of us who are committed to reforming the FAI and bringing good corporate governance to it,” he said.

Mulvey also claimed that while Mazars, a firm undertaking an audit of the FAI’s affairs, had “signposted” the €60,000 payment, the organisation had not been given specific information about it.

“The nature of the payment, the circumstances of the payment I’m not aware of and it would be inappropriate for me to speculate upon…

I don’t think they know themselves fully the nature of the transactions that have taken place in the FAI in the last four or five years.

He added that Sport Ireland would meet with the FAI again later this week, and that the organisation was continuing its attempts to hire independent accountants to audit the association.

Delaney stepped down as CEO of the association in March, and moved into the role of Executive Vice President. It came after a review of the internal structures of the FAI by Jonathan Hall Associates.

That came a week after The Sunday Times published details of a €100,000 cheque given to the FAI in April 2017 by Delaney, which the FAI claimed was a bridging loan to address a short-term cash flow issue.

Controversy has embroiled the organisation since, and the FAI subsequently commissioned Mazars to conduct its investigation.

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