Former FAI CEO John Delaney was allowed sign secret pay deals for himself worth €3m as association in €55m debt
DISGRACED former FAI supremo John Delaney was allowed sign secret pay deals for himself worth €3million with no questions asked by most of the board, it was confirmed yesterday.
And they revealed other payments made on Delaney’s behalf over the years should have been declared in accounts as benefit in kind — including rent, and a company car.
And while he was quick to take from the FAI, Delaney donated €50,000 to them as part of a collection of donations worth a combined €650,000 in December 2018, shortly after the decision to axe former team boss Martin O’Neill and his staff at a cost of €1.9m.
In releasing the 2018 accounts in Abbotstown yesterday, the embattled soccer body revealed debts of over €55million and admitted that auditors were unable to declare them a going concern. In 2018, the FAI posted losses of €8.876million.
Making adjustments for Delaney’s secret payments and other factors, the accounts paint a much bleaker picture for 2016 and 2017 also.
After originally declaring profits of €2.344million in 2016 and €2.758million in 2017, these were revised downwards to a surplus of just €66,000 in 2016 and a loss of €2.853million the following year.
And long-serving board member Donal Conway, speaking to the press later, said of his failure to spot Delaney’s excesses: “My guilt is not a sin of commission, but a sin of omission.”
However, newly-appointed Paul Cooke revealed they are “very close to refinancing the business” following months of bailouts by Uefa.
It also emerged:
- SACKING Martin O’Neill, Roy Keane and the rest of the management team cost €1.903million.
- PAYING off Delaney set the association back €462,000.
- THE FAI paid €2.7million to Revenue following an audit and almost €3.6million on professional fees arising from its recent implosion.
- THE Aviva Stadium debt — once set to be eliminated by 2020 — is now being paid off in a 15-year mortgage which is included in bank debt of almost €30million.
- GARDAI have not been in contact yet over Sport Ireland’s KOSI report.
- NONE of the board had any reservations about signing off on the reports.
- THE FAI will not be suing Delaney.
- EURO 2020 is not in jeopardy as a result of the FAI’s financial woes.
In May, the Irish Sun revealed that Delaney had signed a €2million-plus golden handcuffs deal in 2014.
TWO SECRET DEALS
Yesterday, the FAI revealed that Delaney signed two secret deals — one a €2million pension arrangement and another €1million loyalty bonus.
Delaney agreed the deal with a board sub-committee and it was later submitted to the full board without details of the loyalty or pension bonus.
Despite his role in the FAI’s downfall, Delaney still walked away with a hefty pay-off.
We told you in September how Delaney left with a package believed to be worth €450,000, and yesterday it was confirmed.
Conway, who will step down at an EGM on January 25, discussed how the board were kept in the dark about Delaney’s handcuffs deal.
He explained: “An accurate reflection is that the gentleman involved returned telling us that there was no change in the salary — so I can’t ask about anything if we were not told.
[Delaney] was on a salary and no contract then crossed our table.
‘DIDN’T HAVE FULL KNOWLEDGE’
“When the gentleman returned to the board… you can imagine at the time the key issue was the salary.
“There would have been the view that at €360,000 you were already billing in loyalty, that it was already registered within the €360,000.
“There was no change to the arrangements. None disclosed to the board, so that’s as was is.
“I didn’t have full knowledge of what happened, that is the position I was left in.”
‘SIN OF OMISSION’
Asked if anyone was being reported to the fraud squad in relation to this, Conway replied: “All of these circumstances are the subject of investigation by the relative authorities.”
Conway added: “There are investigations ongoing… When they reach their conclusion the truth will be out there — people will know who did what.
“My guilt is not a sin of commission, but a sin of omission. That is how I would describe my time on the board.
“It’s for other people to judge, but I don’t think any of the other work I have done or been involved in is destroyed because of that.”
‘I FEEL RESPONSIBLE’
Conway took responsibility for not doing more, saying: “The board I was a member of, as a collective, did not do its job well enough.
“I was part of a board that should have scrutinised more seriously than it did… I feel responsible for not having discharged that responsibility to a higher standard.”
Presenting the 2018 accounts and reconstituted accounts for 2016 and 2017 at the FAI headquarters, Cooke revealed the profits from previous years were substantially overstated.
The new accounts also revealed that on December 11, 2018, Delaney made a €50,000 donation to the FAI as part of a fundraising exercise by the FAI which brought in a total €650,000 for the association.
The accounts noted: “This was unconditional and did not provide any rights or obligations.”
‘WASN’T A LOAN’
Cooke said: “That was an investment, a donation. It wasn’t a loan. The €100,000 was a loan, the €50,000 was a donation to the organisation.”
Asked what the donation was for, Cooke said: “I wasn’t here. It was a donation to the organisation. There were a number of people who made donations to the organisation.”
Asked the total sum of the donations, Cooke said: “I think it might be €600,000 or €700,000. Actually, I think it was €650,000.
“It was a second payment but part of a group of people who made donations.”
Pressed for a response as to why the donation was needed, Cooke replied: “You’re not asking me that question after everything we’ve gone through today.
“What do you think they needed it for?”
It was also confirmed no other donation payments were made by any other FAI employees.
‘BOARD WEREN’T TOLD’
Conway added: “As I understand, the €50,000 was described as an investment in football. I wasn’t familiar with the investments.
“We [the board] weren’t told that there was an investment by John Delaney of €50,000 in the FAI.
“Most of my understanding of payments by John was reimbursements of non-business expenses… In some cases, I’m sure some of them were boxes at the Aviva or ticket deals of some such deal.
Delaney walks away into the Sunset, with the Words, KISS MY ASS. By the way with his new Frau…