Tuesday 20 August 2019

'If the rules don’t pass, we know what we have to do' - FAI president Conway discusses association's 'Plan B'

FAI president Donal Conway. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
FAI president Donal Conway. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice

FAI president Donal Conway admits that 'Plan B' if a reform process is rejected at an EGM on Saturday is to carry on the work of the association under their current rules.

Delegates at an EGM in Dunboyne on Saturday will vote on a batch of major rule changes which would clear the way for a complete revamp of the FAI's structures at an AGM a week later, in Trim.

It was made clear that despite a request from members of the joint Oireachtas committee on sport on Wednesday that the media be allowed to attend the full session of Saturday's EGM, the FAI will exclude media from the full session of the EGM and only allow access to a press conference after the event.

It had been suggested that a rejection by delegates of the reforms at the EGM could lead to what's called a FIFA Normalisation process, where FIFA effectively take over control of an association, as happened with the Pakistan FA only last month.

Conway says that's not the case with the FAI but has stressed the urgency of a vote for change on Saturday at the EGM.

"We have a Plan A and Plan B. I don’t go talking to the members about a Plan B because I want Plan A. There is a Plan B, can I just say to you there is a Plan B. If the rules don’t pass we know what we have to do. If we don’t adopt new rules, our old rules dictate what we can do, if we don’t get through the EGM and adopt this report," Conway said.

"I have looked in great detail at normalisation. That would be an absolute disaster for this association.

"You tell your members tomorrow, 'you don’t play international football'. That would be a disaster. There would be no normalisation, in my view, but to what extent I will be engaged in this ongoing work.

"That’s not Plan B. Plan B is we’re governed by the old rules. We are governed by our old rules, we can reconstitute the board. I’m emphasising very strongly, this has been broadly recommended. This [reform] is the first key step.

Conway also stressed the importance of support from UEFA to the FAI's finances.

"They are our single biggest stakeholder," he added.

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