The Football Association of Ireland board has this evening requested its council to vote on a €52.5m rescue deal by email.

It had been planned to seek approval during a meeting of the 79 council members at Castleknock Hotel, but the coronavirus restrictions have made that option unworkable.

This evening, the FAI's interim chief executive Gary Owens offered delegates the opportunity of casting their votes by email. 

Once a majority agree by 8.30am on Monday, the meeting will be replaced by an email vote.

"We currently do have a quorum for the planned meeting, but given the government advice, the emails received from some council members expressing concern about a face-to-face meeting, and the fact that many have to travel from all over the country, we are proposing to hold the vote via email," an email from Owens to council members read. 

"There is also the possibility that the Government may make decisions today or tomorrow which may place further restrictions on people travelling or holding group meetings.

"Consequently, the board believes that we should proceed on this particular occasion and in these extraordinary circumstances to approve the resolution via email."

The bailout package, involving support from the State, UEFA and the Bank of Ireland was agreed in principle on 30 January, but any loan facility over €1.27m requires a majority of support from council members.

Mr Owens has implored council members to ratify the finance package.

"It is essential that this council sanction is received tomorrow to keep the association alive," he insisted. 

The FAI’s financial problems were exposed over the past year, following a string of revelations about corporate governance and financial issues.

Liabilities of €63m were announced in December, as a series of legacy issues from the previous regime came to light.

Mounting legal fees, a severance payment to former chief executive John Delaney and a multi-million euro settlement with the Revenue Commissioners contributed to their financial problems.

Only third-party intervention could rescue the association from entering examinership and in late January the lifeline was provided in return for enhanced governance reforms.

Details of the financial package were circulated to council members ahead of Monday’s planned vote.

In summary, the facility with Bank of Ireland extends the terms of their mortgage on a €28.5m loan from 2021 to 2030 and provides another stream of up to €24m in cashflow.

Regarding the mortgage attached to the Lansdowne Road stadium, the expectation is for the €15.7m balance to be refinanced once the loan matures in a decade.

The additional €14m loan is to be repaid from 2022-2028 at €2.5m per annum, directly from the UEFA centralised television deal.

An option exists until December 2021 of drawing down an extra stream of €10m under a Revolving Credit Facility.

The raft of reforms sought in exchange for the cash injection by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross, supplementary to those in the Governance Review Group from last year, will be put to delegates ahead of an emergency general meeting on 30 April.

Additionally, under the FAI's deal broker with the minister, the State doubled its annual grant to €5.8m until 2023 and vowed to shell out €7.64m to the licence fee due to the Lansdowne Road Stadium Development Company. The latter part comes in the form of an interest-free loan, repayable from 2024.