Unionist Voice can reveal that on the outward leg of the journey from London to Baku to watch Northern Ireland’s recent game against Azerbaijan, IFA President David Martin and three other officials upgraded themselves to First Class at an estimated cost of £6,000 to the IFA.
The huge cost for the cushy upgrade was footed by the IFA, with some players expressing surprise upon finding out.
A source within the IFA board said many members are “furious” and feel that Mr Martin is “taking liberties”.
One longstanding member said “David was behind this upgrade to first class. Why the need to spend £6,000 of the association’s money to travel like a rock star?”
He continued “it should be a privilege to travel as an official to follow the team but this travel should be cost effective. I can not see any necessity, at a time when money is scarce for local clubs and supporters, for David and the others to upgrade themselves to first class.”
The IFA President and the press office have remained silent in the wake of extraordinary revelations by former CEO Howard Wells OBE on this site yesterday.
It is understood they hope that Mr Wells’ comments will be brushed under the carpet and not followed up by the mainstream media.
Our IFA insider said “David is feeling the heat. He has already been overwhelmed with the schedule that being President entails and ironically he is probably more vulnerable now that at any time previously.”
“He got a bloody nose at the AGM and there is a lot of chatter in the carparks and in the background. But they will try and bully small clubs that speak out, that’s always their way.”