Monday 19 August 2019

'No approach' to Olympics boss Sarah Keane over role on new FAI board

Sarah Keane: Turned around a toxic situation in Olympic Council. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Sarah Keane: Turned around a toxic situation in Olympic Council. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

The president of the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) has not yet discussed joining the FAI's new board, despite being dubbed as the right person to save the organisation from collapse.

Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy recently marvelled at how Sarah Keane has turned around a toxic situation in the Olympic Council of Ireland and Swim Ireland.

He claimed that she would be the right person for FAI chiefs to consult with in their own crisis situation.

And among the key proposals from the FAI's own Governance Review Group is that a new 12-strong FAI board would have four independent and four female directors.

However, Ms Keane told the Irish Independent she had not yet been approached for any position on the new FAI board.

"There's certainly been no approach to me regarding that," she said. "I'm on the OFI board, I'm the CEO of Swim Ireland and the chair of the Olympic Commission... I need to see my family and spend time with them now and again," she said.

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The OFI president was speaking at the organisation's AGM in the Campus Conference Centre in Abbotstown.

Ms Keane also confirmed that its former president Pat Hickey will attend the European Games in Belarus next week. Mr Hickey was arrested in Rio in August 2016 on charges relating to ticket reselling. It is understood that the International Olympic Council's (IOC) investigation into Mr Hickey and the Rio 2016 ticketing scandal will be completed before the summer games in Tokyo next year.

"We have been assured he will have no role or function at the European Games and the International Olympic Committee have indicated that he continues to be self-suspended from any role or function within the Olympic movement," Ms Keane said.

It has also been revealed that the fallout from Mr Hickey's departure had cost the organisation up to €2m, wiping out most its reserves.

But at yesterday's AGM, the OFI reported a budget surplus of €149,606. It also announced €250,000 worth of Discretionary Funding for 22 national governing bodies, as well as €70,000 Olympic Solidarity Funds related to the Youth Olympic Games.

Irish Independent

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