Tuesday 17 September 2019

'Reform of Olympic body can provide the road map to help FAI'

Sarah Keane. Photo: Naoise Culhane
Sarah Keane. Photo: Naoise Culhane

Cathal Dennehy

The FAI's former operations director believes the embattled organisation can bounce back from its current crisis by following the lead of the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI).

Peter Sherrard worked in a variety of roles at the FAI before joining the OFI as CEO last year.

He believes much can be learned from how, in the wake of the 2016 ticketing scandal, the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) turned its image around under president Sarah Keane. The OCI rebranded itself as the Olympic Federation of Ireland last year as part of sweeping reform.

"The work that Sarah and the board did to create a new strategy out of a very difficult situation, there's parallels there for what could happen [at the FAI]," said Mr Sherrard. "It's about working hard in that crisis situation."

Last week, Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy urged the FAI to learn from the OCI crisis in 2016, after which the organisation agreed to corporate governance changes.

Mr Sherrard said the FAI issues "came as a shock to most people", but warned a similar approach to the OFI may not guarantee the same result. "I'd be concerned about a one-size-fits-all solution," he said.

Mr Sherrard revealed the OFI has turned a corner financially in the past year, after draining much of its reserves on legal costs in 2016 and 2017.

Mr Sherrard was at the launch of Indeed as an official partner to Team Ireland for Tokyo 2020. The job site will employ an extra 600 staff at its new headquarters in Dublin.

Meanwhile, FIFA are awaiting answers from the FAI after contacting the embattled organisation about their ongoing crisis.

Last night, FIFA said: "In order to properly assess the situation, Fifa has contacted the FAI and requested clarification about the latest developments."

Irish Independent

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