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Statement from FAI President Donal Conway

Source: Football Association of Ireland

The Football Association of Ireland has advised its attendance list for Wednesday’s meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport. 

All requested members of the FAI are included on the list. The Association notes comments made by Sport Ireland and the Oireachtas Committee and acknowledges their concerns.  

Further, the Association recognises and shares the desire for the matters to be addressed as soon as possible, with due regard to the different ongoing processes. The Board acknowledges the misgivings raised by Sport Ireland and the Oireachtas Committee last week and is also cognisant of the concerns of the Football Family and all stakeholders.

The Board is seeking to fully address all concerns in a determined and transparent manner and many steps are being taken to do so and to establish the requisite detail for Sport Ireland and the Oireachtas Committee. As well as the Board establishing a sub-committee to lead the work, the global auditing and consulting group Mazars has been commissioned to conduct an independent and in-depth external review of matters.

The Association’s advisors are working with Mazars to finalize the terms of reference for the review so work can begin. The Board has also requested that this review be completed as soon as possible.

Pending the review by Mazars, the Association has separately and urgently engaged Grant Thornton to conduct an internal review of the Association’s books, records and ledgers. Grant Thornton are on site at FAI HQ since Tuesday, April 2.

I regret that we were not in a position to assist Sport Ireland with answers to its questions before it attended the Committee last Wednesday. The FAI is engaging with Sport Ireland and communicated at a meeting with Sport Ireland on Friday evening that no disrespect was intended by the lateness of the letter of the 2nd of April or its brief contents. I accept more information would have assisted Sport Ireland and the Committee and I regret that it could not be provided before their meeting.

The Association has advised Sport Ireland that we are moving as fast as we can, being mindful of the complexity involved and the need to ensure that all statements we make are accurate and processes are fair and robust.  We also advised that some recent comments made by the FAI did not accurately reflect the Board’s level of awareness of the existence of the €100,000 issue in 2017. This matter is being considered by the Board sub-committee.

The steps outlined are taking time. Meanwhile, the Association has offered to meet Sport Ireland’s audit staff and, with the assistance of Grant Thornton, to go through the relevant accounts to assure Sport Ireland that all Government funding has been properly spent since the last Sport Ireland audit of the FAI.

The FAI has also been in correspondence with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and remains available to assist in dealing with its particular inquiries. 

I look forward now to engaging with Committee members on Wednesday as we seek to address all issues raised.

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