Wednesday 21 August 2019

30 of the main points from the Sport Ireland / FAI Governance Review Group report

A general view of the report during the Launch of Governance Review Group report at the Football Association of Ireland, National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
A general view of the report during the Launch of Governance Review Group report at the Football Association of Ireland, National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile Sportsdesk

The Sport Ireland / FAI Governance Review Group chaired by Aidan Horan issued their eagerly awaited report earlier today. The report came in at 133 pages and contained a total of 78 recommendations which will be put to the FAI council for ratification at the association's AGM on Saturday, July 27th.

A two-thirds majority will have to achieved before the association can attempt to implement the recommendations and look to have their currently suspended Government funding restored. Speaking at the report's launch, FAI President, Donal Conway said that 'There is no plan B' as he called on delegates to ratify the report.   

Having examined the 78 recommendations, here are 30 of the main points raised.

  • The six governance principles proposed by the Group should be adopted by the FAI Board as appropriate and relevant to the functioning of all facets of the Association, from clubs through to Board and Council. The six principles are: good governance, effective leadership, accountability and transparency, ethical behaviour and integrity, stakeholder engagement and professionalism
  • All Board and committee members should receive formal induction training
  • New and more comprehensive terms for the Board and committees should be developed
  • Work clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the Chief Executive and other senior executives should be undertaken and reflected in an updated schedule of delegations from the Board to the executive
  • The Chief Executive should not be a member of the Board
  • The Board should undertake an annual review of its own effectiveness and that of its committees
  • The Board are required to have and should prioritise the implementation of a comprehensive risk management system across the whole organisation
  • The Board needs to ensure a robust culture of 'holding to account’ operates and is seen to operate within the organisation
  • As part of its work programme, the Board should consider and agree a process of evaluating the performance of the CEO. This process should be appropriate and transparent
  • The Board should urgently establish an Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee
  • The Association should immediately make arrangements for the establishment of an internal audit function
  • While there is a Code of Conduct for Board members and staff, it is recommended that a similar code be provided to committee members, council members and to contractors and agents working for and on behalf of the Association
  • All grant of funding arrangements above a defined threshold, e.g. €10,000, should be presented to the Board for review and approval
  • The composition of the Board should include independent Directors of whom one would act as Chairperson of the Board
  • The Board should consist of 12 members: four independent Directors of whom one would be the Chairperson of the Board, the President, Vice-President and six members representative of the football community
  • The positions of Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer should not be part of the revised structure and should cease to exist
  • There should be a minimum 33.3% of both genders within 24 months
  • It should be an objective of the Association that this gender balance can also be reflected at Council, Committee and AGM level and this should be achieved within three years
  • The election of the President and Vice-President should be done at the AGM
  • Council should continue to be the body to elect from its membership the footballing representatives to the Board
  • The six Board members coming from the football community be elected using a four-constituency model
  • A Nominations Committee be formed by the Board to select candidates for election as independent Directors
  • The limit for all members of the Board should be eight years, 4x2 year terms
  • There should be a maximum term limit of 10 years for members of Council      
  • The Board committees should be restructured so that the Board is supported by a number of committees, some of which will support the Board in the business elements of their role and some of which will support the Board in the football elements of their role
  • There will also be a Football Management Committee with a specific brief in the area of football matters and whose membership will include the chairpersons of the Football Committees
  • The representative imbalance in the current makeup of Council be addressed by provision for a further 21 positions which would see the Council with a membership of 79
  • Given the exceptional circumstances in which the FAI finds itself now and, more importantly, to start the process of rebuilding trust, faith and confidence in the Association and to progress the further work required, the group are recommending the appointment of an interim Board for a period up to the AGM in July 2020. This new Board would be appointed in accordance with the structures proposed in the report
  • In April 2019, the full Board of the FAI signalled their intention to resign and step down at the next AGM and the Group respect that this is the position
  • In acknowledging the exceptional circumstances that exist, and the many calls for a complete change at the top, the Group considers that, for handover and transition purposes and to manage the serious risks where everyone leaves at once, at least one or possibly a maximum of two members might consider putting themselves forward for positions on the interim Board. This will require the current Board, as a collective, to consider their individual and personal interests but more importantly at this stage consider the interests of the Association and decide what they, as a collective, consider is the best course of action.

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