Thursday 23 January 2020

John Earley expected to step down from FAI board

John Earley. Photo: Sportsfile
John Earley. Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

John Earley is set to quit his position on the board of the FAI with an announcement expected this week.

Earley will follow the lead of Donal Conway by indicating that he will be stepping down.

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The duo both served as board members during the stewardship of ex-CEO John Delaney and had come under pressure as a consequence.

Schoolboys head Earley joined the board in 2015 but resigned in June, citing a failure to address his schoolboy football related concerns during a governance review.

However, he stood for election again a month later at the AGM and was returned for another year along with Conway.

But Earley's position came under scrutiny last week as the extent of the FAI's financial problems was laid bare.

He defended his role by stating that he did ask questions but was disappointed by individuals that were 'economical with the truth.'

Earley faced questioning about his position at the post-accounts press conference and is understood to have subsequently acknowledged that he will remain a source of scrutiny while he stays on the top table.

Therefore, he is prepared to depart the stage.

Conway will be replaced as president at an EGM in January and a meeting of schoolboy football authorities next weekend is likely make clear who will be put forward for a board seat.

Candidates for the vacant presidency have started to make enquiries in the background with a view to putting themselves forward.

Retired army officer Gerry McEnaney - who lost out to Paul Cooke in an election for the vice presidency last July - is mulling over a tilt.

But those details are very much of secondary concern to FAI staff members who have been called to another meeting this Friday by Cooke who is now acting as executive head.

Staff in the building did meet last Friday in the aftermath of the conference but a number of employees were absent and will therefore be present for the fresh update.

FAI officials cited the need to focus on a "refinancing package that will guarantee the future of the FAI and safeguard jobs" in explaining yesterday morning's decision to cancel a scheduled appearance in front of the Oireachtas Committee today.

But FAI staff do not expect clarity on their positions at Friday's meetings.

SIPTU representatives have been engaged in meetings on behalf of their members, a contingent that is dominated by development officers that are not actually based in Abbotstown.

A large number of the staff do not have formal union representation and have come together to try and find their voice.

Irish Independent

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