Republic of Ireland news

John Delaney's future in doubt amid further revelations about FAI credit card use

It was reported that John Delaney had indicated to friends that he planned to leave the FAI. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire

SPECULATION was last night mounting that former Football Association of Ireland (FAI) chief executive John Delaney will step down from the organisation as the controversy around his finances intensified.

As reports emerged yesterday that Mr Delaney spent almost €40,000 on his work credit card in the last six months of 2016, the Republic's minister for sport warned that the FAI may not be eligible for new large capital sports grants if its corporate governance was not in order.

The controversy potentially jeopardises a €5 million government grant for the upgrade of Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

Shane Ross said that he had "ongoing concerns" about corporate governance at the association, as well as concerns over "the circumstances surrounding a financial transaction".

The FAI has yet to make a statement about the future of Mr Delaney, who took up the role of executive vice-president with the soccer body last month after stepping down as chief executive.

Last week, an Oireachtas committee examining the FAI's financial and governance arrangements, heard how the organisation's former chief executive loaned it €100,000 so it could avoid exceeding its overdraft.

The 2017 loan was not flagged to Sport Ireland, which oversees the public funding of sporting organisations in the Republic, and it has since suspended funding to the FAI as a result.

The loan was repaid in June of that year.

It was reported yesterday that Mr Delaney had indicated to friends that he planned to leave the FAI.

The Sunday Times reported that Mr Delaney, who was on a salary of €360,000 as FAI chief executive, used his work credit card to pay for duty-free purchases at airports, meals in his local pub in Wicklow and to make cash withdrawals of more than €6,000 in six months.

Purchases on Mr Delaney's FAI credit card included €400 at a Hilfiger store, more than €500 on two visits to an executive dry-cleaning outfit, and a €226 bill from shirtmaker Thomas Pink.

Speaking to RTÉ, Mr Ross said the whole board of the FAI had "very serious questions to answer" and that he was "deeply concerned" about their performance before the Oireachtas committee last week.

He said the Dublin government needed to look at how the FAI was being run.

The minister said he would give his judgment on the board after Sports Ireland has completed its report on the issue.

Mr Ross also said that the FAI had not answered the necessary questions about corporate governance and that the association will not get any money if it is "not in good standing" when it comes to corporate governance.

Talks about Mr Delaney's future have reportedly been taking place at FAI headquarters.

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