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Concerns grow over FAI sponsorship portfolio as SSE voices concerns

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The Football Association of Ireland faces doubts over its relationship with one of its major sponsors after energy brand SSE Airtricity voiced concerns over recent issues facing the organisation.

A statement released to the Irish Times by the brand, read: “notwithstanding our current sponsorship agreement, ongoing governance developments at the association are a matter of serious concern which we are continuing to monitor, and we remain in discussion with our sponsorship partners.’’

SSE has one year left on its deal which incorporates sponsorship of the Republic of Ireland national team, the League of Ireland and youth football.

Its statement swiftly follows the news that the FAI’s main sponsor, mobile network Three will not renew its agreement with the association when it expires in July 2020. Three took up the role of main sponsor in 2010 and signed a five-year, €8.9m ($9.9m) renewal in 2015.

This has come against the backdrop of a number of challenges for the FAI. Its financial state is under scrutiny, with its latest results to be released at midday today, as well as its restated accounts for 2017 and 2016.

The Irish Times reports that these will illustrate the seriousness of the situation facing the organisation. The Irish government has frozen funding to the association and Sport Ireland has commissioned a series of reports into its finances, the first or which has been referred to the Garda, the Irish police force.

There has also been uncertainty regarding the FAI’s senior leadership. John Foley had been expected to take over as chief executive, but he has said he won’t take up the position due to a lack of support from stakeholders.