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Senior FAI officials have virtually ruled out the sale of the association’s stake in the Aviva Stadium. They stated that the current agreements with regard to grip on the ground left the association “little leeway” and an implausibly high sales price would have been achieved in order to achieve a significant benefit.

Outgoing President Donal Conway said the organization had reviewed all options, but suggested that any sale would effectively require IRFU and government approval.

“There are two shareholders here, even though the government has an indictment, and the conversation between the two stakeholders should take place first and foremost.

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“So it’s not that the board refuses to sell an asset, it’s just that it is not easy to do in the case of the financial asset [which the association owns].”

There is a general belief that buying the stadium does not generate much interest because it does not actually generate any significant profits. The IRFU has already announced that it is not interested in an advertisement.

Vice President Paul Cooke, who also effectively serves as the association’s board chairman, said the financial situation doesn’t really suggest a sale that makes sense given the need to get such a high price.

“The bank has a charge of 30 million euros and we need another 20 million euros. We would have to sell it for at least 50 million euros so that something can actually be realized for the association.”

Cooke also said the association had received advice that the board was not guilty of ruthless trade while still talking to key stakeholders such as the government and Uefa about its financial requirements. He said the association’s bank, the Bank of Ireland, continues to be extremely supportive, but admitted that if the stadium loan was drawn on, liquidation would be possible, as the association violated its banking agreements has a possibility “.

Sports Minister Shane Ross said on Sunday evening that the government did not see the liquidation or review as an option for the association.

Explanation

In a statement, Ross said, “In response to the events at the FAI meeting today, I would like to state that the government does not see liquidation or auditing as a viable option for the association or Irish football. Over the Christmas period, Secretary of State Brendan Griffin and I teamed up with other stakeholders to find a solution to the crisis that would accelerate the pace of reform, the future of government funding and, above all, greater security, prospects for FAI employees and certainty that grassroots football doesn’t suffer. “

Many Assembly delegates questioned the association’s past financial management standard, and its auditor, Deloitte, has been repeatedly criticized. The company announced that it would not attempt to continue as the association’s auditor, but its representative, Richard Howard, declined to provide detailed answers regarding its performance in recent years.

Instead, he read a prepared statement stating that the company had acted on the assurances given by the FAI board that it had received all of the relevant information necessary for correct accounting. Now he had noticed that it had been “misled”.

Richard Howard of Deloitte at the FAI met again at the Citywest Hotel. Photo: Ryan Byrne / Inpho

Former FAI director Brendan Dillon pressured Howard of the company’s responsibilities, saying that a decade and a half ago he had raised his concerns about various financial issues in the organization.

“I want to record that I stepped down from the FAI board 15 years ago,” said the Dublin lawyer. “And I wrote a very long letter to the chamber at the time, addressing my concerns at the time, and a copy of it went to your company [Deloitte]. You would not have been responsible at the time, and in this letter I addressed issues including, among other things, payments to directors, projections versus reality in relation to the accounts, what was projected and what actually was the reality, and the monitoring of expenses , “

He said to Howard, “The accountants are responsible for verifying expenses. Is not that right? For example, the FAI had a spending policy; They had to be fully guaranteed. I assume you knew that?

When Howard disagreed, “That would be one for the directors,” Dillon replied, “No, no, no, that’s a matter for you as an accountant.”

“As an auditor, and particularly with regard to nonprofits, you are responsible for ensuring that the money received from the organization is used for the purposes for which the organization was set up. ie to promote and promote football.

“For example, did you have a procedure: Sampling expenditure, because 600,000 euros were discovered, was actually not a reasonable expenditure. My business is checked and every single issue that I have to bill is checked and acknowledged. So my examiners are doing this and you don’t seem to have done that, have you? “

Howard tried to answer by rereading the prepared text. At that point in time, Dillon said, “It’s a very simple question: when you got information related to spending, did you check that it was received?”

“I refuse to answer this question,” said Howard.

During the meeting there was some acceptance that many of those present had contributed to what happened in the club happening. David Nolan, club secretary of St. Patrick’s CYM in Dublin, said that anyone who issued a letter of support for John Delaney after reports of the magnitude of the problems that had developed during his tenure had “continued to get out of the.” Game “.

But Denis Bradley, the representative of Derry City, went further and said that after taking office three years ago “he was shocked that when someone asked a question, they responded to Oliver asking for more food”.

The board, he suggested, could be more responsible, but council members and others had also done their part, he suggested, and a statement apologizing to those who had been disappointed should be issued; He argued that many, including politicians, could see this as a necessary part of a possible reorganization of the association.

When he insisted, Conway said a statement would be released after the meeting ended. “I have taken note of the points you raised, and we will definitely include them in the statement.”

On Sunday evening, the FAI issued this statement in the form of an apology “to the hundreds of thousands involved in Irish football at all levels of the game, to the Irish public and to FAI staff”.

Conway said, “The clear message from today’s delegates is that Irish football wants to move forward, and we apologize to all of our stakeholders for past mistakes.”

Government sources said privately that the apology was a welcome step and admitted that the FAI was in a “very fragile situation” that could require a “dramatic response”.

Although there is no evidence of a government bailout, sources have said that the appointment of independent FAI directors – which are expected in the coming days – would strengthen creditor confidence.

Ross said he “welcomed the apology and acknowledgment of past mistakes”.

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