The last month has seen the FAI come under unprecedented scrutiny following the emergence of a €100,000 bridging loan given to the association by its Chief Executive John Delaney.
A litany of reports, statements and questions have arisen since the news was first broken by the Sunday Times on March 17th as wholesale change appears to be afoot at the top of the organisation.
Here, Pundit Arena takes a look back at the FAI’s timeline over the last month.
Sunday Times journalist Mark Tighe tweets that he has spent the day in the high court battling against an injunction from FAI Chief Executive John Delaney who is seeking to stop the publication from running a story about a €100,000 cheque he had given to the organisation.
Judge Anthony Barr denies the injunction and after the story goes to print on Saturday evening the FAI and Delaney issue a statement explaining that the cheque was a “bridging loan” to solve “a very short-term cash flow issue” and the CEO outlines that he had been paid back in full shortly afterwards.
The Sunday Times run the story with details of the loan as the FAI again release a more detailed statement. They outline that a full review of their governance and senior management structures are being undertaken.
Another FAI statement, doesn’t address why he would seek an injunction to try to prevent the story being published if it is as much of a non-issue as he appears to suggest it is. pic.twitter.com/OcCabyo7Ik
— Neil O'Riordan (@noriordan) March 17, 2019
On the Monday the FAI continue to release statements with the bridging loan as well as the governance and senior management structure review being addressed but this time they outline;
“The board of the FAI has been kept fully informed in relation to this matter at all times.”
A day later we first hear from Sport Ireland, who provide funding to the FAI, and they outline that they were “not notified at any stage in 2017 about any apparent material deterioration in the FAI’s financial position.”
They also explain that they will be seeking “urgent clarification” on the loan with the FAI responding hastily outlining that they are “preparing a response” to Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy.
The FAI outline in another statement, their sixth in as many days, that they have offered to bring forward their appearance before the Oireachtas Committee to 3 April, instead of 10 April and confirm that John Delaney would be in attendance in front of the committee.
A massive day in the timeline.
Mick McCarthy’s reign as Ireland manager begins with a dour 1-0 win over minnows Gibraltar away from home and following the game, the FAI confirm that CEO John Delaney would be stepping away from his role to become the new “Executive Vice President of the organisation.
COO Rea Walshe is announced as the new interim CEO as the FAI explain that the change in structure and role for Delaney has come following a review by Jonathan Hall Associates.
The news of Delaney’s reshuffle rather than his departure is met with contempt from many.
The Sunday Times reveals that the CEO had been getting his €3000 a month rent paid for on his home in addition to the €360,000 he was earning in the role.
The FAI continue their statement happy run by confirming that Delaney will be receiving a substantial pay cut in his new role.
They also outlined that they would begin recruitment of a new CEO, with interviews set to take place in May ahead of an unveiling in July.
A rumoured tennis ball protest goes ahead as Ireland defeat Georgia at the Aviva Stadium thanks to a goal from Conor Hourihane.
Irish fans voice their disapproval of Delaney and the FAI throughout the game.
Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy appears before the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport and expresses his concerns over the lack of an FAI explanation for the €100,000 loan.
He also refuses to express confidence in the FAI’s board on a number of occasions.
Sport Ireland release a statement confirming that they will be withholding and suspending funding to the FAI.
The Board of Sport Ireland said it would consider the reinstatement of funding once all ongoing reports commissioned by the FAI have been completed and the recommendations adopted.
FAI President Donal Conway, Executive Vice President John Delaney among others appear in front of the Oireachtas Committee.
Delaney refuses to answer questions on the bridging loan and anything from his time as CEO based on legal advice.
It emerges that only three members of the board knew about the loan despite the March 18th statement confirming they had been “fully informed.”
Honorary Treasurer Eddie Murray is also questioned and outlines that he believes the FAI has one bank account as it later emerges that they, in fact, have 24.
Reports emerge that John Delaney’s future is in doubt amidst meetings at Abbotstown. The Executive Vice President texts a friend of his outlining his intention to resign.
John O'Regan of the KDL has told Radio Kerry Sports that John Delaney sent him a text to say that he (Delaney) was stepping down from his position as Executive Vice President of the FAI
— Radio Kerry Sport (@radiokerrysport) April 13, 2019
The Sunday Times run a story on Delaney’s credit card spending over the last six months of 2016.
They confirm that he spent more than €40,000 on the likes duty-free purchases at the airport, executive dry-cleaning services and five-star hotels, among other things.
FAI release a statement confirming that after 18 years with the association, John Delaney would be stepping down pending an independent investigation.
They also confirm that Honorary Secretary Michael Cody and Honorary Treasurer Eddie Murray have both voluntarily resigned from the Board.
“John Delaney has offered to voluntarily step aside from carrying out his role as Executive Vice-President with immediate effect pending the completion of an independent investigation by the Association into issues of concern to the Board.”
Shane Ross appears in front of the Oireachtas Committee and outlines that the existing board of the FAI will be stepping down.
“When a new structure has been put in place it is the intention that the existing board will step down to allow a new board to be constituted in the best interests of football.”
Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, John Treacy, also confirmed that Sport Ireland will carry out a full audit of the FAI.