Belfast Telegraph

DCAL's move in David Martin row

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

With Steven Beacom

As this newspaper told you on Saturday – about a million years before other media outlets finally got round to the story – the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) issued a stern warning to the IFA about the controversial return of David Martin to high office at Windsor Avenue.

Essentially the statement released to us, now picked up on by everyone else, said that the return of Martin would be a "retrograde step potentially breaching existing funding arrangements for Windsor Park".

Quick recap – Martin and then President Raymond Kennedy left the IFA in 2010 when it was made clear the association would NOT receive £25m government funding for the upgrade of Windsor Park if they remained in office.

The pair had been strongly criticised in an independent report into the unfair dismissal of Chief Executive Howard Wells in 2008, costing the IFA a cool £500,000.

The government requested competency tests be put in place for anyone wishing to be an IFA office bearer. Martin failed several of these but earlier this year, at their AGM, the IFA removed the need for such tests.

Calmly watching developments from afar, DCAL's statement was made public TWO DAYS BEFORE Monday's IFA Council meeting which elected Martin as the Deputy President.

Call it a shot across the bows.

The IFA clearly decided not to let it bother them because Martin was elected with a unanimous vote – an astonishing return for him –and is now in line to be President in 2015.

The game of chess continues. Your move, DCAL...

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph