New FAI sub-committee member Cooke hails ‘constructive’ meeting

Paul Cooke, the new member on the FAI’s sub-committee overseeing a number of investigations, said today’s meeting of the council was ‘constructive’.

The noon summit was the first time that the 58-member forum assembled since the association were thrown into chaos following revelations concerning John Delaney.

It had transpired that a €100,000 loan given to his employers by the former chief executive in 2017 to remedy a cashflow crisis wasn’t disclosed to the full board.

Five separate investigations are ongoing, including one by the state watchdog, the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), while Delaney was sent on gardening leave.

Cooke is due to succeed Eddie Murray, who quit as treasurer on the same day of Delaney’s departure a month ago, but was instead today appointed to a subcommittee of the board tasked with assisting the various bodies probing the FAI’s finances and governance mechanisms.

The FAI’s financial issues today prompted SIPTU to seek a meeting with sports minister Shane Ross based upon concerns of their members about wages.

Denis Hynes from the union said: “We have received information that the FAI is in an extremely precarious financial situation with a threat of the organisation becoming insolvent in only a matter of weeks.”

After meeting Uefa last week, the FAI hierarchy welcomed Fifa to their Abbotstown headquarters today. Both organisations are prepared to assist the FAI through their troubles.

Cooke, a chartered accountant who previously represented his hometown club Waterford on the council, said: “I thought the council meeting went quite well. There was a constructive atmosphere, people participated in it, asked questions and got answers.

It is possible to fix this situation but I can’t say how much heartache it will take because I only started yesterday.

Dave Moran from the Leinster Senior League, who proposed Cooke for the vacancy, insisted the era of delegates being kept in the dark has to be over.

“Today’s was a very positive council meeting that went in for over two hours,” he said.

“I heard about the SIPTU statement but the FAI will get huge backing from FIFA and UEFA.

“There were a lot of questions about what’s gone on recently. We had Aidan Horan, the chair of the governance review group, talking to us.

He said that everything going forward will be more up front and more transparent. If not, I’ll be back out here talking to the media.

Conway refuted SIPTU’s claims, stating: “Uefa’s support will ensure the continued viability of the FAI. There is no threat to Operations or staff.”

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