The former Chief Executive of the FAI has told an Oireachtas committee that he was precluded from giving further information about a €100,000 loan after receiving legal advice.

John Delaney was among FAI representatives who appeared before the Oireachtas Transport, Tourism and Sport Committee today.

He was under pressure to explain the "bridging loan" he gave to the association in 2017.

In his opening statement, Mr Delaney said that on 25 April that year an internal finance meeting was held within the FAI.

He was told that if all cheques were issued to their creditors, the FAI would exceed its overdraft limit.

Mr Delaney said he believed if he had been told about this issue earlier, he would have been able to better address the problem.

He said that the issue was pressing and as a "precautionary" measure he wrote a cheque for €100,000 from his personal account to the FAI.

Mr Delaney said: "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."

Mr Delaney told the committee that he told the Director of Finance only to use the cheque if the overdraft was about 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.

He said he was repaid the money on 16 June 2017 and did not receive any interest on the loan.

Mr Delaney said there was a board meeting later that month but the €100,000 loan did not arise.

He also told the committee that the FAI board was not told of the €100,000 loan until March 2019 when a media query was lodged.

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Members of the committee say they have serious questions about corporate governance and finance within the association.

Earlier, the President of the FAI admitted the association had failed to obey State funding laws.

Donal Conway also said there were cash flow problems within the association when it received the loan from Mr Delaney.

The committee was told that a review by consultant firm Grant Thornton found Mr Delaney provided the association with a personal cheque of €100,000 to make funds available to provide immediate financial relief. 

Mr Conway said that the review found a request was received by email the following day by a creditor who was entitled to draw down funds. 

He said the financial director of the FAI made contact with Mr Delaney via email proposing to lodge the cheque to the FAI's bank account in order to meet the request by the creditor.

Mr Conway said the board acknowledged that the €100,000 transaction was exceptional and the repayment was made in June 2017 to Mr Delaney.

He said Grant Thornton's review found that no contract or agreement was entered into by the association and the former chief executive. 

Mr Conway said the association has embarked on a review of its internal procedures to ensure that this situation cannot happen again. 

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

In his opening statement, Mr Conway told the committee that Mr Delaney's new role would "benefit Irish football".

Mr Delaney has been under scrutiny since it emerged he loaned the association €100,000 to help it through what he described as a "short-term cash flow problem".

Questions have been raised about the financial problems within the FAI that provided the context for such a loan.

The FAI has said it is carrying out two separate reviews by global auditing firm Mazars and Grant Thornton and admitted it broke State funding rules by not declaring the loan to Sports Ireland. 

The crisis deepened yesterday when Sport Ireland suspended funding to the association, which came after Chief Executive John Treacy last week said he could not express confidence in the FAI Board.

Mr Delaney stepped aside from his role as FAI chief executive last month to become Executive Vice President with responsibility for all UEFA and FIFA matters including the proposed World Cup 2030 bid with the UK, the Under 21 Euro bid with Northern Ireland and matters pertaining to the Aviva Stadium from an FAI perspective.

The FAI said the decision to split the roles was taken following a report into governance at the association undertaken by Jonathan Hall Associates which recommended that oversight functions should be separated.

FAI Chief Operating Officer Rea Walshe has been acting as interim CEO since Mr Delaney stood aside to become Executive Vice President on 23 March.

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