'It's like a stain on everybody' - Kevin Doyle on how the FAI scandal could harm Irish football long-term
Kevin Doyle says that the recent scandal surrounding the FAI could see football lose young players to rugby and the GAA.
The association has been engulfed in a crisis since it emerged that John Delaney lent the FAI €100,000 in 2017, which the then-CEO has described as a 'bridging loan'. The FAI has since had its funding suspended by Sport Ireland, with the board set to step down while Delaney has left his role while an investigation takes place.
Speaking on RTÉ, former Ireland international Doyle says that the current situation is a cloud hanging over everyone involved in football in the country.
"We are the most participated sport in the country, and there are a lot of people working very hard and lower down in the leagues, who are doing a very good job," Doyle said.
"But at the moment, it's like a stain on everybody.
"It's tough out there for coaches to convince kids to come. It's getting harder.
"Rugby is becoming more popular, GAA is always going to be very popular.
"So we are competing against other sports and we need to be looking as professional an organisation and as well run as possible, if we plan to get parents to send their kids."
Despite his fears that football could lose its popularity among youngsters, Doyle is hopeful that with a new power structure in place, the FAI can move forward.
"You have to listen to everyone," he said.
"Junior football in Ireland has one thought on how it should be run, League of Ireland teams will have another idea how their youth set up should be run.
"It's about getting everyone together. Everyone wants football to do well in Ireland.
"We just need to figure it out. There will be light at the end of the tunnel.
"It happens in other countries and this is our chance to put it right."