Tuesday 15 October 2019

Oireachtas committee seeks to grill FAI again to assess pace of reform

Call: Oireachtas sports committee chairman Fergus O’Dowd. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Call: Oireachtas sports committee chairman Fergus O’Dowd. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Aidan Fitzmaurice

The Oireachtas committee on sport wants to grill the FAI a second time to get an update on the progress of any reform.

The chairman of that committee, Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd, has called for Noel Mooney to stand aside from his current role with the FAI as he's associated with the "ancien régime".

The appearance by a Football Association of Ireland delegation before that Oireachtas committee in April was widely criticised, as the former CEO and then executive vice-president John Delaney refused to answer questions, on legal advice.

Since then, issues of finance and governance at the FAI have been address at committee level when Sport Ireland appeared before the committee, but now O'Dowd says he wants to see the FAI do likewise.

"I would hope to have them in early July, 10 days or two weeks before their AGM," Mr O'Dowd said.

"It's very important, we need the reports and their outcomes, there is a huge public interest from people who follow sport, in terms of administration and governance there is a huge issue here and we hope to have them in some time in early July. We need to see the reports and do diligence on what they say, we want accountability and so many issues need to be clarified," he added.

He is also uncomfortable with the role held at the helm of the FAI, on a six-month secondment from Uefa, by Noel Mooney as he is a former FAI employee.

"I see no reason why he should be involved," Mr O'Dowd said of Mooney.

"I think the ancien régime must go and anyone associated with it, for the good of the sport. We want change and we have to have that, in terms of governance and their management structures, we need a clean sweep."

Sport Minister Shane Ross said he did not know if former CEO Delaney is still being paid his €360,000 a year salary by the FAI even though he is on gardening leave.

"I do not want to say anything that will prejudice the findings of this particular body or inflame it," Mr Ross said. "But I have made my views absolutely clear that a new regime is necessary and that a new board is necessary. And I am talking about a full change of regime."

Irish Independent

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