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FAI Board have told Sports Minister Shane Ross they will be stepping down

Independent.ie logo Independent.ie 16/04/2019 Daniel McDonnell
a group of people sitting posing for the camera: FAI Board members © SPORTSFILE FAI Board members

THE FAI's own auditors have notified authorities of potential failures in the company's accounts - and the sports minister has revealed that the entire board of the football association is to step down.

Deloitte have filed a notice to the Company Registration Office stating that "proper accounting records" were not kept at the Football Association Of Ireland.

Auditors Deloitte took the unusual and fairly dramatic step of reporting the failure by the company to keep proper accounting records on Friday, April 12, using a standard form.

Failure to maintain proper books is regarded as a Category 2 offence under the Companies act – and is potentially a criminal offence. In extreme cases offences can result in fines of up to €50,000 and up to five years in prison.

The filing said the FAI had contravened Sections 281 and 282 of the Companies Act 2014 – the specific rules setting out how a company must maintain adequate accounting records.

As auditors Deloitte had signed off on the FAI's most recent accounts, but that filing makes clear auditors relied on information provided by the directors and that the directors themselves are responsible for the preparation of the financial statements.

Meanwhile, the FAI Board have indicated to Sports Minister Shane Ross that they will be stepping down.

The FAI wrote to Mr Ross this morning to say they would be taking 'decisive action'. Mr Ross wants an EGM called before the next scheduled AGM of the Association in July and wants to "facilitate a transition to a new board by way of transparent elections".

"The existing board will step down to allow for a new board to be constituted in the best interests of football," said Minister Ross.

"There will be no further funding until we have received credible answers. I will be closely monitoring developments on corporate governance and the conditions that no new capital payments will be made by my department to the FAI until I am satisfied with the new measures."

The current board is made up of President Donal Conway, Vice President Noel Fitzroy, Mick Hanley, Jim McConnell, Eamon Naughton, Paraic Treanor, John Earley and Niamh O'Donoghue.

Honorary Secretary Michael Cody and Honorary Treasurer Eddie Murray resigned from their roles yesterday and John Delaney is no longer a board member since he changed from CEO to Executive Vice President.

Ross added the new FAI board should have a wider base, "include representatives of players, male and female, supporters, leagues." And Ross called for a "stakeholders forum" for all facets of the game to come together and shape a future.

Sport Ireland agreed to a full audit of the FAI last night.

Adrian Horan of the Institute of Public Administration will chair a review of governance at the FAI and Sport Ireland say audit of FAI will be "as extensive as they need it to be".

John Treacy added that the Mazars review, commissioned bu the FAI, will be a full investigation of what's come into the public domain.

"We will bear in mind the outcome of Mazars Report when conducting our own audit," said Mr Treacy.

Mr Ross envisages that the FAI will get their house in order to qualify for future funding.

"They can make applications but it's when they drawdown," said Minister Ross.

"That's when the crucial period would be. I wouldn't discourage them from making applications at all. I anticipate if they take the necessary urgent measures, they will not be penalised in any way.

"There will be applications tomorrow. Then, there will be allocations. Then there will be a drawdown. It's a three stage process. I don't anticipate that by the time we get to drawdown, we'd have the problems you anticipating."

MORE ON FAI:

Is John Delaney still on full pay? (Independent.ie)

Auditors report FAI for breaking laws (The Journal)

Eamon Dunphy blasts John Delaney (Dublin Live)

The four contenders vying for the FAI CEO hot seat (Independent.ie)

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