Leo Varadkar insists FAI won’t be ‘handed a blank cheque’ as insolvency fears grow
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Leo Varadkar insists FAI won’t be ‘handed a blank cheque’ as insolvency fears grow

Taoiseach Leo Vardakar has made it clear the Football Association of Ireland will not be handed a blank cheque to pay for its "mistakes of the past.”

The crisis-hit organisation had requested an €18m bail-out earlier this month to stave of the threat of insolvency.

Minster for Sport Shane Ross said at the time the FAI – who face debts of up to €62 million euro – will not receive state funding.

And the Taoiseach confirmed that is the approach his government still intend to take.

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Taoiseach Leo Vardakar says the Football Association of Ireland will not be handed a blank cheque to pay for its "mistakes of the past.” (Image: Getty)

Speaking today, he said while is "genuinely worried" about recent revelations and said that the Government will play a role in ensuring the FAI does not fold, pensions and legacy debt will not be underwritten.

“We want to make sure that we don't see a situation whereby the association of football collapses in Ireland and if Government has a role to play in ensuring that then Government will play a role in ensuring that,” he said.

"But we don't want to be in a situation where we are somehow asking the taxpayer to bail out the FAI and take on their debts and liabilities and maybe their pensions too. We're not going to do that.”

Ex CEO John Delaney and his partner Emma English during the 2020 UEFA European Championships group D qualifying match between Republic of Ireland and Georgia at Aviva Stadium on March 26, 2019. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Shambles

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Former Ireland international Kevin Moran hit out former CEO John Delaney and auditors Deloitte for letting the situation snowball after the redevelopment of the Aviva.

“‘The Darkest Hour is before the Dawn – or so they say. But it is fairly bleak now for anyone working for the FAI,” he wrote in The Irish Independent.

“You cannot see a way out of this shambles that does not involve job losses."

He cited the current debt of €62m and said it is too vast a sum of money to recover without the FAI cutting back on its day-to-day spending.

HAPPIER TIMES: Ray Houghton and Kevin Moran celebrate in 1988. Photo: INPHO.

Betrayal

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“That’s a tragedy because there are good people labouring away to do the best they can for football in Ireland,” said Moran.

“And they must all be feeling betrayed now.

“Shame on anyone whose actions or inactions have allowed it come to this.”

Meanwhile the FAI “apologised for previous errors at a reconvened AGM in Dublin on Sunday night.

In an announcement they stated: “The Board of the Soccer Affiliation of Eire has tonight issued an apology to the tons of of 1000’s concerned with Irish soccer in any respect ranges of the sport, to the Irish public and to FAI workers."

Outgoing president Donal Conway stated: “The clear message from our delegates is that Irish soccer needs to maneuver ahead and we apologise to all our stakeholders for the errors of the previous.”