Wednesday 22 January 2020

I'm not interested in role as FAI chief executive - but I'd love to help out, says Quinn

Niall Quinn has ruled himself out of the top job at the FAI. Picture: INPHO
Niall Quinn has ruled himself out of the top job at the FAI. Picture: INPHO
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Niall Quinn has ruled himself out of the vacant FAI chief executive position but admitted he would be open to a role helping out the organisation after his associate Roy Barrett was appointed as chair of the board.

Mr Barrett, the managing director of Goodbody Stockbrokers, was one of the three independent directors appointed, along with Catherine Guy and Liz Joyce.

Earlier this year, he was part of Mr Quinn's 'Visionary Group' that came together to look at solutions for the League of Ireland.

Ministers Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin last night met with a delegation from the FAI, including the new independent chairman and independent directors.

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The Irish Independent understands that the appointment of four independent directors to the board will be the "first step" towards a Government bailout for the organisation. A fourth new independent director will be appointed in the coming weeks, once they tie up some personal business.

Sports Minister Mr Ross last night said: "I am now confident that the new board is committed to delivering the necessary governance reforms and ensuring that a stronger association emerges for the good of Irish football and all those who love it."

Mr Quinn feels that the arrival of the trio could be a "turning point" and would be willing to help out in some capacity. But he has ruled himself out of the running to become the next chief executive, asserting that he doesn't have the right attributes.

"I have said that all along, I said this months ago, that I would love to help out but this doesn't need what I can offer as a CEO," said Mr Quinn, speaking at the Virgin Media Television spring launch.

"It needs a restructuring expert, and somebody who can go in and really give the Government confidence that the administrative side of the business is back in great shape again and that's going to take some time.

"I've no idea who might end up doing it. If there's a role I can be used in, in a capacity that brings trust from all of the stakeholders... that I can come in and champion and use what skillsets I have, I would gladly do it."

Mr Quinn said he was heartened by reports from the recent AGM in Citywest which, in his view, reflected an acknowledgement within the existing FAI power bases that change was necessary.

However, he asserted that the FAI remained in a dire predicament and therefore the priority was thrashing out a deal with the Government, the banks and Uefa to provide security about the future.

"It's a real turning point but it's only just one day in time and the problem of technical insolvency still lingers about," he said. "There's still a lot of work to do. It switches now to a better narrative and I hope the Government, Uefa and the banks feel there is a new way about to happen and that they can support it.

"It's a real new dawn for the FAI and it's amazing that the skillsets (of the new directors) will be in there now helping the current board members."

Irish Independent

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