Candidates in frame to become next CEO: Former goalie Mooney is favourite to land top job
Former Cork City and Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper Noel Mooney could land the job of a lifetime if FAI bosses consider him as the best fit to replace John Delaney.
In 2012, the Cappamore man took on the role as marketing manager at European football's governing body, Uefa, but speculation was mounting last night that Mr Mooney would be favourite to get the position of CEO should he choose to go for it.
While he remains quiet on his intentions, many of his admirers have taken to social media to announce their support.
"Only one man to take the [CEO] position in my opinion. Noel Mooney," tweeted one supporter.
Once head of league marketing and promotion for the FAI, Mooney now leads business development at Uefa.
Upon landing the job in 2012, Mr Mooney paid thanks to Mr Delaney and said: "I wish to pay tribute to the FAI CEO John Delaney who has always been an inspiration to work with."
At the FAI's Annual General Meeting in 2017, Mr Mooney reflected on his own days in the FAI and commended the work of the association. "We had a young CEO who managed to make the association fit for purpose," he said, nodding to Mr Delaney.
Law graduate ‘key member’ of team
Another strong contender for the top position is interim CEO Rea Walshe.
Only last month, Ms Walshe was promoted to the role of chief operating officer.
A law graduate from UCC, Ms Walshe recently oversaw the FAI's implementation of new governance guidelines endorsed by the Department of Sport. She has also worked closely with the Irish Soccer Referees' Society, the Referees Committee and other affiliates on new measures to protect match officials.
Ms Walshe joined the FAI in 2014 from Liberty Insurance and graduated with distinction from the inaugural Uefa Football Law Programme.
Mr Delaney recently described Ms Walshe as a "key member" of their executive.
"She has worked diligently with our board and our governance committee on bringing us in line with the new department guidelines ahead of schedule, something which Minister Brendan Griffin commended us on," he said. "I look forward to Rea's continued expertise and enthusiasm driving the game here forward at all levels for many years to come."
On her appointment as COO, Ms Walshe said: "I look forward to embracing the responsibilities this new role brings and continuing to work hard on projects that will have a positive impact on Irish football."
The FAI has ‘too much politics for me’
Niall Quinn has emerged as a candidate to become the new CEO after the shock departure of John Delaney.
However, the former Ireland striker recently said there was "too much politics" in the FAI for him to get involved.
Recently, he has been in the media discussing his plan for the development of underage football in Ireland, with his vision generating a lot of debate.
He has also said that for the League of Ireland to survive it must break away from the governance of the FAI.
The former Sunderland player has said the FAI should have nothing to do with the running of the league.
However, while he would be willing to be involved in a newly formed league, he distanced himself from the FAI.
"For the league yes, but not for the FAI - too much politics there for me," he said.
Since his retirement in 2003, the former Ireland star has been involved with his former club Sunderland, where he acted as chairman.
The takeover - by the Drumaville Consortium, headed by Mr Quinn - was completed in July 2006.
And Quinn remained as chairman until October 2011.
The 52-year-old had a very brief stint as manager of the club, before he appointed Roy Keane.
Quinn has also worked as a television pundit for Sky Sports and Virgin Media since his retirement.
Attempts to contact Quinn were unsuccessful.