Sport Soccer

Saturday 16 December 2017

Bonner departure confirmed by FAI

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

THE worst-kept secret in Irish football was confirmed yesterday when the FAI announced that Packie Bonner will be leaving his position as technical director when his contract expires next month.

Throughout the week, FAI officials had been reluctant to acknowledge that the Donegal man was on the way out, with discussions taking place over the terms of his departure.

Bonner refused the opportunity to stay with the association as an ambassador, a role filled by other legends such as Ronnie Whelan and Ray Houghton.

Instead, he has declared his intention to seek new employment elsewhere.

"In my time at the FAI, I have learned an enormous amount and developed broader organisational and management skills that I believe have benefited the association, and I now hope to put it into effect in another meaningful professional role in Ireland or Britain," said Bonner, who took over the role in 2003 after Brian Kerr graduated to become senior boss.

Confirmation of his departure comes at the end of a troubled week for the association, who made 12 staff redundant on Wednesday as part of a plan to to implement cost-cutting measures.

Bonner's duties will be shared by his de-facto assistant Miriam Malone and high performance director Wim Koevermans.

The former Celtic goalkeeper is the highest profile departure from the association in a year which has seen senior staff numbers at Abbotstown fall.

Director of finance Mark O'Leary resigned in August, and commercial director Rory Smyth recently followed suit. There are no plans to replace either.

The FAI are struggling, after taking out substantial bank loans to cover their commitment towards building the Aviva Stadium.

Disastrous 10-year ticket sales have resulted in an income shortfall and, with interest payments kicking in for 2011, cutbacks in all departments are necessary to limit the financial pain.

Irish Independent

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