The FAI has appointed Mazars to complete an in-depth external review of the various governance matters that are currently front and centre stage in terms of fans, the media and politicians.
The Association will appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Tourism, Transport and Sport on Wednesday, April 10th, one week after this Wednesday’s appearance by Sport Ireland to explore many of the same issues.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the FAI said that “The Board of the Football Association of Ireland acknowledges the concerns expressed by members of the football family, supporters, commentators, politicians and the public around recent media stories concerning the Association.”
“The Board is committed to fully addressing the issues of concern and is undertaking steps to do so.”
“The Board of the FAI has established a sub-committee, from amongst its members, which is working closely with the Association’s external advisers and auditors to urgently address these matters.”
“Global auditing and consulting group Mazars has been commissioned by the sub-committee to conduct an independent and in-depth external review of all matters. The Board has requested that this review be completed as soon as possible.”
“The FAI is engaging fully with Sport Ireland and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in dealing with their particular inquiries.”
“The Association will be appearing before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport and recognises and shares the desire for the matters to be addressed as soon as possible, with due regard to the different ongoing processes.”
Wednesday’s session with Sport Ireland should give an indication of the kind of questioning which Committee members will follow and whether there is likely to be a collaborative approach.
The Committee process was placed in the spotlight itself recently with a finding from the Supreme Court that the Public Accounts Committee had overstepped the mark with regard to the questioning of Angela Kerins, the former CEO of the Rehab Group.
A further hearing to clarify what this means is due to be held on April 8th, a mere two days before John Delaney is part of the FAI delegation and is bound to be in the minds of all those seated around the table.
With this in mind and the Mazars Report underway in terms of an independent review, it may yet be that the Committee proceedings deliver less of a robust challenge than might have been expected since news first broke in the Sunday Times two weeks ago of a short term loan arrangement between John Delaney and the FAI, and the different questions this gave rise to in the wider area of Governance.
Within six days of that story, and an hour of Ireland’s opening fixture in the Qualification process for Euro 2020, John Delaney had stepped aside from the role of CEO to that of a new Executive Vice President position specifically dealing with UEFA and FIFA matters.
The ‘tennis ball’ protest by fans at the Aviva Stadium has led to a charge from UEFA which will likely lead to mild censure and a fine of around €20,000.
What emerges from the Committee Rooms at Leinster House has less clear precedent on which to base a forecast of the likely outcome.