FAI CEO Hill says '2019 FAI Delaney saga won't happen again'

FAI CEO Hill says '2019 FAI Delaney saga won't happen again'

FAI CEO Jonathan Hill assured the media on Thursday that the mistakes and financial troubles that plagued Ireland's governing body under former CEO John Delaney will not be repeated.

In 2019, an investigation by the Sunday Times revealed Delaney's extensive involvement in the FAI's precarious financial situation. The 2018 accounts disclosed debts exceeding €55 million, with the FAI recording losses of €8.876 million.

Subsequently, Delaney resigned from his position at the FAI.

In January 2020, a €30 million rescue package was agreed upon to prevent the FAI from facing possible liquidation. This package included government loans and grants amounting to €20 million, a contribution from UEFA, and the restructuring of bank debt.

Speaking to the media following the publication of the Facilities and Infrastructure Vision and Strategy document, current CEO Hill said, "We believe we've got a strong case for Irish football and for facility transformation, and I think it's my role as CEO to put that case forward. I do believe that the FAI is in a very different place than it was two years ago.

"We're coming to the end of a period whereby the memorandum of understanding we signed with the government, that led to that very necessary and much appreciated investment back in 2019/2020, is coming to an end.

"As part of that, there were 163 governance and finance recommendations that we were asked to bring into the association. By the end of 2023, we will have achieved all of those recommendations.

"What happened prior to 2019 will never happen again."

The report also states that the FAI is planning a total proposed investment of €863 million and almost 2,500 projects across three core areas of Grassroots (€426 million), League of Ireland (€390 million), and International (€47 million) over a 15-year period.

Hill also claimed on Thursday that the FAI's debt has been reduced by over €20 million since he came into the role. "We've reduced our debt down to €44 million, which is a significant jump down from the €63.5 million that I inherited when we came in."

The full report can be read here