Friday 24 May 2019

Hon secretary hopefuls' FAI links a worry for reformers

'critics of the current FAI regime will be disappointed that the two nominees for the secretary position both have links with the association and will be unhappy that no new names have come forward' (stock picture)
'critics of the current FAI regime will be disappointed that the two nominees for the secretary position both have links with the association and will be unhappy that no new names have come forward' (stock picture)

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Those who were hoping for a complete reform of the FAI have had those hopes dashed already, now that the names of the nominees for the two vacant positions on the board are a matter of public record.

The association were yesterday dealt the blow of being told that the Officer of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) is going to the High Court next week to ask the court to determine if documents supplied by the FAI to the ODCE earlier this week are privileged, as the FAI have argued.

That's another stumbling block, a very serious one, for the embattled FAI to get over next week but this weekend the reaction in the football community to the nominations for the vacant posts of honorary secretary has been unenthusiastic.

Reformers have welcomed the unopposed nomination of former Waterford United rep Paul Cooke for the treasurer's post, so Cooke will be elected to the board in July after the AGM. Earlier this week Cooke, a long-time critic of ex-CEO John Delaney, said that he wanted to see a "cleansing" of the FAI and called for complete transparency before trust can be regained with the public.

But critics of the current FAI regime will be disappointed that the two nominees for the secretary position both have links with the association and will be unhappy that no new names have come forward.

Gerry McAnaney's LinkedIn profile boasts that the retired army officer is "a full council member of the Football Association of Ireland since 1998", a qualification that does not fulfil reformers' demands for new blood.

And his rival for the post, Tony Dignam, was the FAI's director of finance for three years, at a stage when the association fully backed John Delaney's promise for the FAI to be "debt free" by 2020 despite a severe drop in revenue. Dignam left the FAI in 2014 to join Compass Group, the company which provides catering to the Aviva Stadium.

Nominees

Gerry McAnaney

Born in Dublin but based in Cork, he is closely linked with College Corinthians. A retired commandant in the Irish Army, he has been the long-time representative of the Armed Forces on the FAI Council since 1998. He is close to FAI outcast Brian Kerr.

Tony Dignam

Associated with Dublin nursery club St Joseph's Boys and a former player with UCD, he was FAI finance director (2011-14) during which time FAI income dropped by 19pc.

Paul Cooke

Has a long-time association with home-town club Waterford United and was a critic of the John Delaney regime during his spell as the club's rep on the FAI Council. He is familiar to many in media and business and is aligned to Dublin club Larkview.

Irish Independent

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