Monday 22 July 2019

FAI set to call time for long-serving officials

Chief executive John Delaney, who has been on the board for 18 years, is exempt from the reforms. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Chief executive John Delaney, who has been on the board for 18 years, is exempt from the reforms. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

John Fallon

The FAI insist that over half their board of management will be changed by 2023.

Rule changes introducing term limits for directors are expected to be ratified at an EGM in Abbotstown today.

Chief executive John Delaney, who has been on the board for 18 years, is exempt from the reforms.

As a major sporting body in receipt of government funding, Minister for Tourism, Transport and Sport Shane Ross wants the FAI compliant with their governance code by the end of this year.

That code recommends board members should serve a maximum of nine years to facilitate fresh blood and renewal.

The average tenure for a member of the FAI's current 11-person top table, including Delaney, is a decade. Their average age is 66.

Many will be able to extend their service to near 20 years under the proposed rule changes.

As expected, the reboot will be slow, with the FAI saying that they want to avoid an "immediate loss of experience and expertise" from the board.

Secretary Michael Cody, by then heading towards his 81st birthday, will step down at the 2020 AGM, followed a year later by treasurer Eddie Murray, who will be 82.

Also due to lose their places in the upper echelons by 2023 are Jim McConnell, Eamon Naughton and Paraic Treanor.

Another board veteran, Donal Conway, who was elevated to president only last July, will have another three years at the summit.

There is no provision in the new rules to appoint independent directors. This key part of a Genesis Report in 2002 designed to modernise the FAI has been constantly ignored.

It remains to be seen whether these proposals will satisfy Ross.

Last week, the minister referred queries on a matter he first raised in 2017 to Sport Ireland.

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster has called on Ross to ensure the FAI don't take "deliberate measures to side-step" the rules.

Irish Independent

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