The FAI is well on the road to recovery following a “virtual collapse of administration,” according to the Minister of State for Sports.
The footballing body was saved from liquidation in 2020 when the Government, UEFA, and Bank of Ireland handed it a €30m bailout.
The bailout was granted on condition the FAI made 164 governance reforms – 159 of which have now been completed.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning Junior Sports Minister Thomas Byrne said the organisation was doing "very well" in its recovery.
“The Irish public, through the Government, has given the FAI significant additional support over the last few years,” he said.
“There was a virtual collapse of administration of football in this country and the possible collapse of football in this country.
"About 98% of the recommendations of the memorandum of understanding have now been implemented.
“I think that does speak to an organisation that has actually worked hard by any outside analysis to make sure that it does make these structural reforms.”
Minister Byrne said football governance in Ireland is now in a healthy place.
“The Government has doubled funding towards the FAI - almost tripled - it in the last few years,” he said.
“The FAI has got significant funding to allow for football to continue throughout the organisation.
“The priority has to be football and having more people participate and then through that, have more people playing at the elite top level as well.”
Minister Byrne rejected claims the Government treats the GAA more favourably than football when it comes to stadium developments.
“It has been a fact that over the last couple of decades, the GAA probably has been better at getting their act together so that they are in a position to build these facilities,” he said.
“But there have been a number of facilities for football that have been built with Government support, you only have to look at Tallaght stadium, Shamrock Rovers – that is significant support.”
Minister Byrne said soccer has “definitely come to the table” when it comes to accessing the latest round of Large-Scale Sports Infrastructure Funding (LLSIF).
The last round of LSSIF was launched in 2018 and designated over €100m to sports infrastructure projects around Ireland.
Minister Byrne said the funding available would increase by 80% this time around.
“We want to fund sports and soccer has definitely come to the table this time – we need to see how much money is there,” he said.
A number of FAI board members resigned over financial issues within the organisation in 2019, including its Chief Executive John Delaney.
You can listen back here:
Main image: An aerial view of the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in May 2010. Picture by: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE