At the Annual General meeting of the Football Association of Ireland, held in the Round Room of the Mansion House in Dublin, delegates heard that while the FAI posted a surplus of €6.7million for 2021, the association remains in debt to the tune of €63.5million.

Finance Director Alex O'Connell told the 107 delegates that they were acutely aware of their large liabilities, but that there had been a significant change in the auditor’s report and a previous reference to a material uncertainty around the accounting position of the organisation had been removed.

But there are still legacy debt issues to manage.

Borrowings increased from €62.4million to €63.5million and the FAI cash balance at end of 2021 was €27.1million with net assets of €2.7million.

The association’s net current liabilities or debts to be settled within one year dropped from €13million to €8.3million.

The FAI received €5.8million in grant funding from Sport Ireland in 2021, the same figure as in 2020.

The FAI included €9.1million of Covid relief funding from government and Sport Ireland to offset the loss of income due to the pandemic.

Alex O'Connell admitted that the reliance on deferred income in the past, the policy of using money from future sponsorship in the current period, has placed the FAI at risk.

The FAI deferred appointment of board members from the AGM for three months. In order to satisfy the requirements of the Memorandum of Understanding with government, the association must increase the number of female directors on the 12-person board from two to five by 2023.

Independent chairman Roy Barrett said that by achieving gender balance at all levels the game will be so much better, but he agreed that there are some inconsistencies in a number of committees. He stressed that this needs to be addressed in a collaborative way.

The FAI accept the need to increase the pool of female candidates and stressed that members must be persuaded to nominate women to positions and that men must make space for women to take up those positions.