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FAI board members 'expressed discontent' with Memorandum of Understanding before agreement was signed

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FAI independent chairman Roy Barrett. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

FAI independent chairman Roy Barrett. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

FAI independent chairman Roy Barrett. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

FAI independent chairperson Roy Barrett has admitted that members of the association's board "expressed discontent" with elements of the Memorandum of Understanding in the January agreement between the FAI and the Government before it was signed.

And in a statement issued by Barrett via the FAI's communications department, he revealed that he was in possession of the MOU on the evening before it was passed on to other members of the board.

A majority of board members have expressed their concern, in the form of an email signed by eight directors, over the process of how the MOU was agreed in January, particularly a statement by Interim CEO Gary Owens where he said the MOU was "approved beforehand" by the board, a claim disputed by the other eight members.

In today's FAI statement, Barrett does not address Owen's claim or the rebuttal by directors, but his revelation that he was in possession of the MOU on the evening of January 29th, but which was only passed on to board members the next day, has already raised eyebrows among some directors.

"At a Board meeting of the FAI on January 28th, I updated my fellow directors on discussions with the various stakeholders and they mandated me to reach agreements with the Government, Bank of Ireland and UEFA on a financial package to secure the future of the Association," Barrett said in his statement.

"Late on the evening of January 29th, I was furnished with a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ireland and the Football Association of Ireland in respect of the restoration of funding and the provision of additional funding support to the FAI for the period 2020-2023.

"On the morning of January 30th, I circulated the Memorandum of Understanding to my fellow Board members. Some expressed discontent with elements of the MoU via email but we had all previously accepted that the overriding need was to ensure the financial future of our Association. I subsequently had no hesitation in signing the MoU on behalf of the Association later that day."

Barrett then issued a call for unity ahead of Friday's meeting of council members.

"As we prepare for Friday’s Special Council meeting of the FAI, and for an EGM at the end of the month, it is vital that we don’t lose sight of the perilous financial situation that the Association was in last January and continues to face today," Barrett said.

"At this point it is imperative that we all work together as an Association to guarantee the funding becomes available to protect our game, our staff and football in Ireland. I look forward to discussing the MoU with Council on Friday and with our AGM members at our EGM on August 31st. Whatever views people may have on the MoU, it has always been the case that the ultimate decision as to whether or not the MoU is agreed to and the funding is released, rests with voting members at the EGM."

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