Sport Soccer

Sunday 26 January 2020

Packie Bonner insists new CEO of the FAI needs to have no connections with the game in Ireland

Former Ireland goalkeeper, Packie Bonner. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Former Ireland goalkeeper, Packie Bonner. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Former Ireland international and FAI Technical Director Packie Bonner says that the new CEO of the FAI must have no connection with the game here.

Bonner, who has had no connection with the FAI since he left his Technical Director role in 2010, says he is willing to help the crisis-ridden association and offer guidance. He welcomed this week's appointment of an independent chair of the board, Roy Barrett, and two independent directors but the post of CEO, effectively filled on an interim basis by Paul Cooke, has to be looked at.

A number of names have been linked, Niall Quinn distancing himself in the last 24 hours, but Bonner feels a clean break is needed.

"Someone asked me about the CEO and all that stuff, we need a young CEO, a young, energetic guy, or girl, who can go for the next 10 years and help us, and who has had no connection to the FAI," he said, speaking as he received an award at the annual awards night for the SSE Airtricity Soccer Writers Association.

"That's my opinion. No connection, something fresh coming in alongside the board to go and drive football on. He or she may need help and support, of course, everyone needs that but this needs to be fresh now, it needs to be moved on and Government will come behind everything after that.

"I think Government is waiting, hoping, that the change that now is instigated will get the right direction, and I think they'll come behind that and support it.

"I've no doubt about that because they realise that they need football to be thriving in this country.

"There's a lot of people out there playing the game, involved in volunteerism, and we need both, we need the professionalism side and the volunteers, everything going in the same direction.

"And the Government know how important that is to our society and will come behind it, but they will do so if the change and leadership is right, and that's started now and I feel very positive about it now," added Bonner.

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