Published Monday, 07 October 2013
Windsor Park in Belfast is to be re-developed in a £25m scheme. (© DOE)
In September the minister said £25m in funding, set aside for the Windsor Park development, could not be provided until the IFA had "appropriate governance".
Problems arose after the governing body appointed Amateur League official David Martin as deputy president.
Members of the IFA's council unanimously backed Mr Martin for the position - even though he had been forced to resign from the same post three years ago and subsequently failed a suitability test for senior office.
Mr Martin's 2010 resignation was a result of his role in the unfair dismissal of Howard Wells as IFA chief executive.
A tribunal ruled the IFA should compensate Mr Wells £500,000.
The then president Raymond Kennedy also had to stand down.
The IFA scrapped the requirement for suitability assessments for senior officials earlier this year.
Following Mr Martin's appointment, Minister Ní Chuilín said: "I need to be assured that appropriate governance and accountability structures have been maintained.
"Until that happens, I can't sign off on any agreement."
During Stormont's topical questions debate on Monday, DUP MLA Peter Weir asked the minister for an update on discussions with the IFA.
She responded: "The discussions are ongoing, and I am sure that the member will appreciate that there is a lot of sensitivity in the matter.
I remain confident that we can resolve the outstanding governance issues.
Carál ní Chuilín
Mr Weir also asked what discussions the department had held with the European Union to ensure that it would not block funding.
The minister added: "We have been in Europe, and we will continue to talk to Europe.
"We are hoping to have an outcome from those ongoing discussions before Christmas.
"Either way, it is still a very sensitive issue."
She added: "I have fought the issue on behalf of the IFA in particular but also on behalf of the whole Executive.
"The state aid issue raises questions for every investment that we have made in the past 10 years, not just in DCAL but across the board.
"The member will appreciate and understand that I am robustly defending any challenges on state aid.
"Needless to say, we are working through it well."
Windsor Park, home to Linfield and the Northern Ireland squad, is in major need of a revamp.
A total of £110m was set aside by DCAL for three building projects - the Ulster rugby ground at Ravenhill, the GAA's Casement Park and Windsor Park, with the latter to receive £25m.
The plans for the development were formally submitted by the IFA in last December.
The work, which it was hoped would begin last month, would take the capacity of the stadium from 15,000 to 18,000 and improve its outdated facilities.
© UTV News