Robbie Keane’s lawyers sent Fine Gael a legal letter after the party issued a statement from one of its senators criticizing his FAI salary, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
The Republic of Ireland’s record goalscorer’s lawyers are understood to be seeking an apology and a retraction from Fine Gael over Longford-based Senator Micheál Carrigy’s testimony about the €250,000 annual salary Keane receives from the FAI, even though he has none formal role within the organization.
Fine Gael has removed the statement from its website, but it was circulated by a number of news outlets and tweeted by several journalists after it was released by the party’s press office last Thursday.
Keane’s lawyers are understood to have questioned Mr Carrigy’s characterization of how the salary was funded. They declined to comment when contacted.
As part of a state rescue package for the over-indebted association, the FAI had its annual state funding doubled to 5.8 million euros in 2020.
He was also allocated €13m in Covid aid in 2020 and €19m last year for the same purpose, along with several other sporting organizations affected by the pandemic.
Talks between Fine Gael and Keane’s representatives are understood to continue this weekend to resolve the matter, with one option being that Fine Gael apologizes and retracts Mr Carrigy’s original statement.
Former Spurs, Wolves and Celtic forward Keane, 41, was appointed assistant national team coach four years ago as part of Mick McCarthy’s backroom team.
When Stephen Kenny took over in 2020, however, he didn’t offer Keane a position on his backroom team. Keane remains on the FAI payroll with his contract expiring this summer.
Mr Carrigy’s statement called for the salary to be returned and passed on to grassroots football clubs.
“This money is badly needed by youth organizations and local clubs to improve training facilities, fund coaching and mentoring for young players and even secure the future of some clubs,” Mr Carrigy had said in the statement.
“I believe he should return this money to the FAI so it can be distributed to the local clubs that need it most.
“We simply cannot afford to squander €250,000 every year when money like that is vital to players and teams across the country.”
FAI chief Jonathan Hill has previously apologized to Keane for how the situation around his position has been handled since Kenny became manager of the seniors’ international team.
“One thing I can say about Robbie is that he is absolutely committed to Irish football,” Mr Hill said last July.
Fine Gael declined to comment this weekend, while Mr Carrigy channeled inquiries to the party’s press office.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/robbie-keane-demands-apology-from-fine-gael-after-senators-criticism-of-his-250000-a-year-fai-salary-41491375.html Robbie Keane demands an apology from Fine Gael after the senator criticized his FAI salary of €250,000 a year