The former chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland, John Delaney, has told an Oireachtas Committee that he gave a €100,000 loan to the association in the best interests of football.

In a statement, Mr Delaney told the committee that in April 2017 he wrote the cheque amid concerns that the association's overdraft limit was about to be exceeded.

However, he declined to take questions on the matter on legal advice.

Fears overdraft limit would be exceeded 

 "On Tuesday 25 April 2017, we had an internal finance meeting at the FAI.

"This meeting was attended by our Director of Finance Eamon Breen, our Financial Controller Yvonne Tsang, and myself as CEO.

"I was advised at this meeting that if all cheques and FAI bank transfers issued to third parties at that time were presented for payment, that the FAI would exceed its overdraft limit of €1.5 million on its bank accounts with the Bank of Ireland."

'I wrote a cheque'

"As the matter was pressing and we only had a few hours to resolve the potential issues that would arise if the bank overdraft limit was exceeded, as a precautionary measure and to assist the FAI, I wrote a cheque for €100,000 from my personal account to the FAI.

"This cheque was made payable to the FAI. I gave it to our Director of Finance Eamon Breen, telling him to only lodge the cheque if it became clear that the bank overdraft was going to be exceeded."

He said that the day after that he received a call saying the money would be needed and was told that he would be paid back as soon as the funds came in.

€100,000 repaid 

"I subsequently received a cheque for €100,000 on 16 June 2017 from the Football Association of Ireland repaying the amount in full which I lodged to my personal account on 23 June 2017.

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

'I acted in the best interests of the FAI' 

"I accept that the overdraft limit issue arose on my watch as chief executive officer. 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 regret the embarrassment this entire issue has caused to them and the association. But I did it in the best interests of football."

'I informed the board' 

"On Monday 4 March 2019, I informed the board of the FAI of the precautionary payment I had made following a media query received from the Sunday Times.

"On Saturday, 16 March 2019, I initiated court proceedings against the Sunday Times at my own cost in relation to this matter because I believed at the time this information had emanated from documentation which had been filed in the family courts."

No 'further comment' 

"I will continue to assist fully the Football Association of Ireland in its engagements with Sports Ireland and Grant Thornton, and when called upon to do so. Will do likewise with Mazars and the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement in their respective inquiries.

"On legal advice, I am precluded from making any further comment at this hearing in relation to the finances of the association or my former role as CEO or the €100,000 payment, whether directly or indirectly."

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