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FAI won't clear debts until be...

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FAI won't clear debts until beyond 2030

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

10:26 AM - 4 Dec 2019



The promises of former CEO John Delaney that the FAI would be debt-free by 2020 will look increasingly hollow once the accounts discussed publicly tomorrow.

Paul Cooke was appointed 'Executive lead' for the beleaguered organisation. Cooke's first duty will be to discuss the state of the FAI's accounts with the media on Thursday (December 5th).

The accounts that will be published are the 2018 set, after several months of delays. Some of the issues that will emerge include UEFA footing the €800,000 FAI monthly wage bill.  Adding to the financial pressure the funding from Sport Ireland is still frozen and unlikely to thaw soon.

That financial life support by the European governing body will only run until March. The Irish football body also pays €100,000 per week on debt servicing for the Aviva Stadium.

UEFA are understood to have advanced the Abbotstown administration €15 million as they continue to provide financial life-support. It's unsurprising that UEFA suggested selling the organisation's share in the Lansdowne Road venue, given the outlay by the European body and the state of the FAI's finances.

There appears to be little appetite within the Irish football body to sell all or even some of the share of the Aviva stadium. A likelier solution is a restructure of the organisation's debt.

It is understood negotiations with the FAI's lenders are underway. This would push the debt-free date into the early 2030's, far beyond Delaney's 2020 mantra.

The cash-flow obligations of the FAI throw the importance of qualifying for the European Championships into stark financial reality. The near €10million cash injection would be a welcome addition to some thoroughly empty coffers at Abbottstown.

Restoring Funding

While funding form Sport Ireland to the FAI remains frozen, Sports Minister Shane Ross, speaking yesterday to RTE, said he was anxious to see funding reach other parts of football in Ireland.

"We're looking at ways of (restoring funding) for the women's national team, we're looking at ways of doing it for the sports clubs," he said.

"It's so important that the small sports clubs, the people who (bring) out young girls and boys on a daily basis for training, for health... that they're funded.

"I think you can expect (to see) something very soon to channel money to them, not through the FAI but through another way, to ringfence it in a way that it's safe that they get it."



Read more about

Abbotstown Aviva Stadium FAI Funding Crisis Irish Football John Delaney Paul Cooke Shane Ross UEFA

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