O’Brien stopped mak­ing pay­ments to FAI in 2016

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS NEWS - CIARÁN HAN­COCK

Busi­ness­man De­nis O’Brien stopped mak­ing pay­ments to the FAI to help fund the salaries of its se­nior man­age­ment in 2016, the as­so­ci­a­tion’s fi­nance di­rec­tor Ea­monn Breen told In­side Busi­ness, a pod­cast from The Ir­ish Times.

By that time Mr O’Brien had con­trib­uted €12 mil­lion, hav­ing con­trib­uted to­wards the salaries of for­mer Ire­land man­ager Gio­vanni Tra­p­at­toni and his as­sis­tant Marco Tardelli, and re­cently-de­parted Martin O’Neill and his as­sis­tant Roy Keane.

When asked what per­cent­age of the salaries Mr O’Brien was pay­ing, Mr Breen said a “good per­cent­age” and “wouldn’t be far off the ma­jor­ity of it . . . as in slightly more than 50 per cent”.

“We are for­ever in debt to him for it,” Mr Breen said of Mr O’Brien’s fund­ing. “He al­lowed us to go to the mar­ket on a big scale and to bring in Gio­vanni Tra­p­at­toni and Marco Tardelli, and to con­tinue that on through Martin and Roy.”

Mr Breen said this helped the FAI to “bring foot­ball back to the top of the mar­ket” and “how it works with our busi­ness part­ners and spon­sors, our com­mer­cial rev­enue . . . has a huge im­pact”.

Mr Breen con­firmed there “were pay­ments in­volved” to O’Neill and Keane af­ter they left their roles with the se­nior Ir­ish team last month. “None of which have had a sig­nif­i­cant detri­men­tal im­pact on the as­so­ci­a­tion . . . and our abil­ity to drive for­ward and in­vest in foot­ball.”

Mr Breen said the FAI’s debt cur­rently stood at €29 mil­lion, and would be re­paid in full within two years. “We will have that cleared by the end of 2020. Without us hurt­ing the game and hold­ing back on in­vest­ment in it.”

Mr Breen said the money to pay this off would come from “Uefa, there’s fu­ture spon­sor­ships, there’s 10-year tick­ets”. The debt has been re­duced from a high of more than €70 mil­lion.

Roy Keane and Martin O’Neill: “pay­ments in­volved” af­ter they left roles

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