The FAI have been in front of the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee today and will feel bruised once again by the questions asked across a range of issues.

Because we were hosting an event this morning, ironically on politics and sport, I have not yet seen the hearing in full but will be watching it this evening to provide analysis with my own eyes tomorrow morning.

The MBM or minute-by-minute coverage focuses naturally on the headline moments but it is often in the nuance of body language and reaction that a deeper understanding can be gained.

What we know from the headline commentary is that information including emails and more that was asked to be provided before Christmas was only received by the politicians 45 minutes before the session this morning, a fact put down to the extensive caution of legal advice about human resource matters.

That set the questioning on a more frustrated path than might, or might not, have been the case.

We know that Independent Chair Tony Keohane, in his first outing before the committees expressed his support for Jonathan Hill as CEO.

We know that Sport Ireland are standing over having been told enough for them to renew funding streams that had been paused.

We know a little more about the payment to the CEO in lieu of holiday but also that this is accepted as a mistake, has been paid back and has triggered new more robust processes.

We know that the Women’s U17 game against Israel in Albania is to go ahead on the basis that UEFA have taken no sanction against that country but that there is a prospect of a statement game being played at the Aviva Stadium between a League of Ireland XI and a Palestine XI.

By all accounts this was more of what one would hope from an Oireachtas Committee with less grandstanding on local issues than we have heard in the past and less focus on the headline grabbing stories of Senior Men’s team managers but we will reserve final judgement on that until tomorrow.

CEO Jonathan Hill, President Paul Cooke and Chair Tony Keohane represented the FAI along with Directors Liz Joyce and Catherine Guy and executives David Courell and Dan McCormack.

Sport Ireland will also be present and likely to be asked if they stand over the FAI’s figures and compliance, which they are expected to in full.

The politicians who sit on the PAC are Brian Stanley (Sinn Féin, Chair), Catherine Murphy (Social Democrats, Vice-Chair), John Brady SF, Colm Burke FG, Cormac Devlin FF, Alan Dillon FG, Alan Kelly, LAB, Paul McAuliffe FF, Imelda Munster SF, Verona Murphy IND, Marc ó Cathasaigh GRN, and James O’Connor FF.

 

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