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MacSharry calls for FAI chair to resign in row over rescue deal

   

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Fianna Fail TD Marc MacSharry. Photo: Tom Burke

Fianna Fail TD Marc MacSharry. Photo: Tom Burke

Fianna Fail TD Marc MacSharry. Photo: Tom Burke

Fianna Fáil's Marc MacSharry has called for the resignation of chairman of the FAI board Roy Barrett.

The TD also strongly criticised the appointment of high-ranking civil servant Robert Watt to the Abbotstown top table.

Mr MacSharry has been vocal on the latest round of boardroom turbulence in the soccer body with a row that centres around the signing of January's rescue deal.

The Memorandum of Understanding that restores State funding has yet to be voted through by FAI members and contentious terms include the addition of extra independent directors and an immediate exit for FAI Council representatives with more than 10 years' service.

But unhappy FAI board and council members have questioned the legal authority of Mr Barrett to sign into that memorandum without the approval of a meeting, and point to this as evidence that board members elected through soccer constituencies no longer hold any influence.

Mr MacSharry raised the matter in the Dáil last week and that prompted a strong response from Mr Barrett, who urged the Sligo based TD to "check his facts", and asserted that a council vote in March gave the FAI authority to start drawing down State funding.

This is disputed by Mr MacSharry, who told the Dáil yesterday that his understanding is that the March vote was only called to approve refinancing proposals with Bank of Ireland, citing correspondence sent by interim FAI CEO Gary Owens about that process.

MacSharry described the FAI's governance as "appallingly bad" and claimed that "as far as I am concerned, the State and Sport Ireland are complicit in an effective coup d'etat where people at the top - so called independents - are dictating what is going on without telling their own board and we've lent money, it seems, to an organisation that didn't have the express sanction of their council."

Irish Independent