Friday 18 October 2019

FAI workers demand two spots on new board ahead of shake-up at AGM

Former FAI chief executive John Delaney. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Former FAI chief executive John Delaney. Photo: Steve Humphreys

John Fallon

The FAI governance committee will today be requested by staff representatives to allocate them two places on the new-look board.

The majority of the FAI’s 204 employees met privately on Monday at Abbotstown to discuss their input to the overhaul currently underway amid recent controversies.

Sports Minister Shane Ross last month said that staff, along with other groups such as ex-players, supporters’ groups and the women’s game, should have representation at the top table.

Three employees – Harry McCue, Tom O’Connor and Paul Keogh – led Monday’s meeting and are due to meet with the five-person governance group today when the campus becomes a hive of activity.

They will discuss their concerns with chairman Aidan Horan and fellow Sport Ireland nominees, Dr Moling Ryan and Joe O’Leary, along with FAI delegates Niamh O’Donoghue and interim chief executive Rea Walshe.

One of their objectives is to end excessive salaries to executive staff. Former chief executive John Delaney earned a basic annual salary of €360,000.

Employees endured severe cuts in salary and allowances over the past decade as Delaney’s miscalculated plan to fund the FAI's Lansdowne Road rebuild costs through expensive premium tickets proved a disaster. They still owe €30 million after spending the same amount servicing the debt.

In their submission to the governance committee, the staff group claim they were "silenced" over recent years and that issues raised by the workforce "fell on deaf ears".

Moreover, the blueprint states that staff morale was adversely affected by their plight, heightening the need for them to have a voice at the top table through what they describe as "worker directors".

All eight remaining board members have vowed to resign at the AGM in Trim on July 27.

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