SIPTU representatives have stated that union members employed by the FAI were misled by management concerning the financial situation of the organisation which, it has emerged, is heavily in debt.

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Denis Hynes, said: “Last year, the former CEO of the FAI, John Delaney, informed our members that in 24 months the Association would be debt free, which it is now clear could never have been the case.

“In May 2019, SIPTU representatives outlined our concerns to the Board of the FAI concerning the possible insolvency of the organisation if funds from the Government and Sports Ireland were not forthcoming. At that time, the management of the FAI rejected that this was the case and added that it was shocked by the allegation.

“For staff to hear last Friday that the FAI is €55 million in debt came as an extreme shock and caused them great concern. The workers were later made aware that there would be consequences and job losses due to the dire financial situation and mismanagement of funding.”

He added; “SIPTU members are to some extent reassured by the announcement by Minster for Sport, Shane Ross, that he intends to restore government funding of €2 million for community-level soccer. The Minister has also stated that he plans to establish a mechanism through a third party to pay the salaries of approximately 60 soccer development officers. Our members believe that this is a positive development.

“However, SIPTU representatives are still seeking a meeting with the Minister to discuss the overall future of the FAI and the 140 workers whose livelihoods remain in the balance.”