John Delaney regrets 'embarrassment' caused by FAI loan

John Delaney says loan to FAI was 'in best interest of football'

John Delaney was appointed chief executive of the FAI in 2005

The former chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has insisted he acted in the best interests of the game when he loaned the organisation 100,000 euros.

The FAI has been embroiled in controversy since it emerged that ex-CEO John Delaney provided it with a bridging loan in April 2017 to prevent it exceeding its 1.5m euro bank overdraft.

The contentious payment, which has raised questions about the FAI's finance and governance arrangements, was not flagged to Sport Ireland, the state body that oversees the public funding of sporting organisations in the country.

Sport Ireland has temporary withheld further funding to the FAI, pending an auditors' probe.

John Delaney oversaw the recent appointment of Mick McCarthy as Republic of Ireland manager
Image: John Delaney oversaw the recent appointment of Mick McCarthy as Republic of Ireland manager

In a much-anticipated appearance before a parliamentary committee in Dublin, Mr Delaney made clear he received no interest for the loan.

He said: "I did not receive any interest payment and I would never have expected it, I was only acting to assist the FAI and the benefit of Irish football."

Mr Delaney left his role as chief executive last month in the wake of the loan furore, taking on the newly-created FAI job of executive vice president.

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He told members of the Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport: "I accept that the overdraft limit issue arose on my watch as chief executive officer.

Darren Randolph kicks tennis balls off the pitch during the game against Republic of Ireland
Image: Tennis balls were thrown onto the pitch by protesting fans during the Republic of Ireland's game against Georgia

"I wish that it had not happened, but I acted in the best interests of the association.

"We have an excellent and committed finance and administration team and body of employees at the FAI and many voluntary workers and players at all levels throughout the country.

"I am, as most of you know, passionate about football and have always been.

"I regret the embarrassment that this entire issue has caused to them and the association, but I did it in the best interest of football."

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