News Irish News

Sunday 25 August 2019

FAI will defy Ross to keep Conway on as president

Donal Conway. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Donal Conway. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice and Hugh O'Connell

The FAI will defy Sports Minister Shane Ross and proceed with its plan to have current president Donal Conway stay on in his role after next week's AGM.

Ahead of a testing time for the association, which includes an EGM on Saturday and its AGM a week later, Mr Ross delivered a blow to the embattled body yesterday.

He called for Mr Conway, a board member since 2005, not to run for re-election as president and carry through on a promise for the current board to stand down entirely.

Mr Conway has been nominated unopposed to continue as president.

"You reiterated the board's commitment to stand down at the AGM.

"Contrary to this commitment, you have now been effectively re-elected as president of the FAI," Mr Ross told him in a sternly worded letter.

"This was a reversal of your promise to bring reform to the FAI under a new leadership.

"Together with your decision to appoint former FAI employee and loyalist Noel Mooney to the post of general manager, this development means that the new regime has a very old look about it."

The minister asked Mr Conway to withdraw his nomination for re-election "to allow for new leadership with credible reform credentials, in the best interests of football".

Mr Ross also told Mr Conway a proposal to reduce the quorum of the FAI board from six members to two "beggars belief".

But the FAI will not back down and last night responded, stating the plan to have one or two current board members stay on for a year was a key element of the Governance Review Group's report which has been endorsed by Sport Ireland.

"The FAI notes the minister's ongoing interest in and concern for the game of association football and shares the minister's desire to improve governance all across the association," the FAI said.

Meanwhile, in a letter to Oireachtas Sports Committee chair Fergus O'Dowd last night, Mr Conway defended his position, citing the report's recommendation "at least one or possibly a maximum of two members might consider putting themselves forward for positions on the interim board".

He insisted the new rules and constitutional changes would ensure the FAI "meets the highest standards".

Mr Conway also said the quorum for board meetings would remain at six unless changed by FAI members at an AGM or EGM. He said proposals for the quorum to be reduced to two were based on legal advice in order to avoid the board becoming inquorate and unable to make decisions.

There will be further questions on FAI policy when Sport Ireland appears before an Oireachtas committee today.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News