Wednesday 19 June 2019

Mooney arrives to assist FAI through period of difficulty

Mooney was in Tallaght for yesterday's Euro U-17 final. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Mooney was in Tallaght for yesterday's Euro U-17 final. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Noel Mooney was handed interim control of the FAI last night, with the UEFA employee's six-month secondment to Abbotstown formally announced.

His appointment did meet with some internal opposition, and Sport Ireland and government figures wanted a candidate with no recent FAI link.

However, UEFA's input is central to helping the embattled Association through the period of crisis and that is what paved the way for the return of their Head of National Association Business Development.

Significantly, his arrival as the FAI's 'General Manager for Football Services and Partnerships' has led to interim CEO Rea Walshe moving into the role of Chief Operating Officer.

Neither Mooney nor Walshe will be members of the board under the arrangement. Mooney will start his role on June 3 with an FAI statement saying he will go back to UEFA on November 30.

Stronger

Mooney said: "Working with all of our stakeholders, I am confident Irish football will emerge stronger and better over the next few months as we listen to the voices of those who want the game to succeed and are determined to deliver the radical reform required for Irish football."

President Donal Conway said that UEFA and Mooney's experience and knowledge would help as the FAI "deliver change for Irish football".

Mooney was in Tallaght for yesterday's Euro U-17 final.

Last Monday's Irish Independent reported that UEFA were preparing to send staff to Ireland to help the FAI through the strife arising from six investigations into their affairs dating back to the March emergence of ex-CEO John Delaney's 2017 bridging loan to his employer.

UEFA will be acting as a financial 'safety net' for the FAI, with up to €10m available. Mooney's Irish connection pushed him forward, although sources indicate that his name was mentioned in FAI circles back in March. The ex-Cork City, Limerick and Shamrock Rovers player joined the FAI in 2006 as their club promotions officer and then moved into a broader marketing and promotion roles.

At the end of 2011, Mooney was recruited by UEFA for a role as a marketing manager.

He described Delaney as an "inspiration" in his parting statement and was a guest at the FAI AGM two years ago.

His association with the old FAI regime is understood to be the reason for government concern. UEFA Executive Committee member Delaney is currently sidelined from his new FAI role as Executive Vice President and missed the U-17 tournament.

It was reported over the weekend that his directorship of the company controlling the Aviva Stadium has come to an end. The FAI will be nominating replacements for Delaney and ex-Honorary Secretary Michael Cody.

Another part of Delaney's new brief was to work on the bid to bring the 2030 World Cup to these shores as part of a bid with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This newspaper understands that Delaney is not expected to take part in planned discussions in June.

Irish Independent

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