Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

19.46 2 Dec 2019


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Minister of Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross says the appointment of four independent directors should be the "most urgent priority" for the Football Association of Ireland.

The joint-statement with the government department's Minister of State Brendan Griffin was in reaction to news that John Foley had turned down the interim FAI CEO vacancy.

The former Athletics Ireland chief executive had agreed to replace Noel Mooney, whose term in charge ended over the weekend.

However, Foley has chosen against taking up the position at the last minute. He stated that he felt he didn’t have enough support in the FAI.

Irish football's governing body reacted to that development with "great regret".

And reacting to that outcome in a statement on Monday night, Ministers Ross and Griffin said that any new CEO should be "completely independent" of current or past FAI involvement:

Statement

The ministers note media reports that John Foley has declined to accept an interim CEO role at the FAI. The ministers also acknowledge Mr. Foley’s long service to Irish sport in various executive roles over recent years and his reputation for delivery.

However, as has been previously stated repeatedly, Ministers Ross and Griffin believe the most urgent priority for the FAI should be the appointment of the four independent directors. Thereafter, it is important that the Board, under the leadership of the independent Chairperson, moves quickly to fill the CEO vacancy. To satisfy the concerns of all stakeholders, the new CEO should be completely independent of any present or previous involvement with the FAI. The FAI’s reform agenda needs to be strongly led in a manner that allows normality to return to football in Ireland as quickly as possible. The restoration of government funding can only follow such reform.

Foley's decision follows a tumultuous past week for the FAI.

Last Wednesday night it emerged that Sport Ireland had referred the KOSI audit into the FAI to An Garda Síochána.

The FAI also subsequently stated that they would co-operate with any such probe.

Minister Ross had also confirmed that the government will not be in a position to reinstate funding to the FAI.


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