Wednesday 21 August 2019

'The board should be outed and ousted' - Brian Kerr makes a passionate call for changes within the FAI

Brian Kerr calling for changes in Irish football. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Brian Kerr calling for changes in Irish football. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Brian Kerr has called on the entire FAI board to be replaced, after accusing the men controlling Irish football of being complicit in the allowing the current crisis gripping the game to develop.

Speaking to Independent.ie, the former Republic of Ireland manager didn’t hold back as he hit out at the FAI after Sport Ireland confirmed it was suspending funding of the organisation until a string of investigations were concluded.

In a passionate plea for change, Virgin Media Sport analyst Kerr insisted FAI Executive Vice-President John Delaney is not the only member of the organisation that needs to be replaced, as he suggested the moment had come for sweeping changes.

"My view is the board should be outed and ousted," Kerr told us. “They are there far too long and they have been complicit in how the organisation has been run.

"Now the public are seeing that the FAI was not run by the board, but by one person who made all the decisions.

"I was quite aware that the board had very little influence, but we have always been told publicly that the board and not one person was in charge.

"Until recent days, we have rarely heard anyone other than the Ireland team manager talk about the future of our game, how we are going to develop young players and improve our game from the bottom up.

"Suddenly, we are getting statements from this President and we are starting to see a change in tone.

"Most people in the organisation have been voiceless for too long. The previous President only made a statement to criticise people who abused John Delaney’s girlfriend, but now we are getting statements from people other than the previous CEO. That is a good thing, but it is not good enough.

"This is not a one man problem. The board need to go en-mass. Far too many good people have been discarded by the organisation down the years and these people could have helped in the development of young players and putting in place structures that will help the game develop. The FAI have found a way to discard these people or they have let them go and they have not replaced those people over the years.

"Have they done a good job developing players for the international team? No they haven’t and that is one of their main jobs. Have they done a good job on the League of Ireland. No they have no and again that is a big issue.

"The League of Ireland have been one of the breeding ground for the development of Irish players in recent years despite the lack of support from the FAI and despite the fact that they have not received money from the organisation when it was owed to them from European competitions. They have not released that money quick enough because of their own financial troubles.

"The GAA and rugby union have been far ahead of them in the way they have built their sponsorship income over the years, while the idea that they deserve credit for getting major soccer events to Ireland is laughable.

"I know for a fact that UEFA are often looking to place under-age events and if there are 12 cities being used for the Euro 2020 finals, do we really need to celebrate that Ireland is one of them? I don’t think so for a minute."

Kerr believes what he perceives to be a lack of support for the League of Ireland has been one of the biggest failing of the current FAI board, as he offered up a damning verdict on their effort to promote our domestic league.

"The League of Ireland has almost been treated with disdain for many, many years. The stadiums have improved very little over the years, with a few obvious exceptions," he added.

"This board have refused to acknowledge the recommendations in the Genesis report that dates back to when I was manager and remarkably, most of the board that were in place when I was Ireland manager are still there.

“I think it is an extraordinary situation that we have three different group of consultants being paid to investigate an organisation who themselves say they are investigating themselves.

“All this because the CEO did something that, on the face of it looked very charitable, which was to give his own employer €100,000 of a loan. The big issue is why did he go to the high court to stop the paper printing the story that he had done that. Going to court to stop the story getting out raised a big red flag to start with.

“I’m not surprised that other issues have arisen since then. I’ve said for many years that the organisation is very badly run. They have made some huge errors in their financial management and their eagerness to pay off the debt that has been on the FAI has surprised me for a long time. That surprise is particularly relevant when you see how the game in Ireland has been struggling financially for so long.

“These are the people claiming it was a unanimous board decision to hire and fire Ireland managers, to change positions of key people in the organisation, to appoint the CEO to a new position. Up to known it has always a unanimous decision, with the backing of the board, but now we are finding that is not the case given some statements this week.”

 

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