Sport Soccer

Sunday 19 May 2019

UEFA and FIFA prepared to give the association 'huge backing' through ongoing crisis, FAI council told

Pictured leaving their meeting with The FAI today were FIFA’s Sarah Solemale and Bjorn Vassallo, Director, Membership Association’s Europe FIFA with Cathal Dervan, FAI Public Relations and Communications and Donal Conway, FAI President at Abbottstown.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
Pictured leaving their meeting with The FAI today were FIFA’s Sarah Solemale and Bjorn Vassallo, Director, Membership Association’s Europe FIFA with Cathal Dervan, FAI Public Relations and Communications and Donal Conway, FAI President at Abbottstown. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
Jim McConnell pictured at FAI HQ today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
Pictured leaving their meeting with The FAI today were FIFA’s Sarah Solemale and Bjorn Vassallo, Director, Membership Association’s Europe FIFA and Donal Conway, FAI President at Abbottstown. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
Pictured leaving their meeting with The FAI today was FIFA’s Bjorn Vassallo, Director, Membership Association’s Europe FIFA with Donal Conway, FAI President at Abbottstown. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
Pictured leaving their meeting with The FAI today was FIFA’s Bjorn Vassallo, Director, Membership Association’s Europe FIFA with Donal Conway, FAI President at Abbottstown. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
The Football Association of Ireland HQ in Abbotstown. Photo: Frank McGrath
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Delegates at today's FAI Council meeting were told that UEFA and FIFA are prepared to give them 'huge backing' to get them through their ongoing crisis.

The first full gathering of the Council since the turmoil brought about by ex-CEO John Delaney's €100,000 loan to the Association coincided with a press release from SIPTU stating there were concerns that jobs would have to go due to cashflow problems.

The FAI released a statement this afternoon to say that UEFA had given them assurances about the future, with an Abbotstown statement describing SIPTU fears as ‘unfounded’

"At a positive meeting of the FAI Council this afternoon, President Donal Conway outlined how the FAI had recently engaged with UEFA when assurances were given regarding their support for the Association," read the statement

President Conway said: "As I outlined to our Council meeting today, we recently met with UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin and Director of National Associations Zoran Lakovic. At that meeting in Nyon, they assured us of the full support of UEFA for the FAI as we go through our current processes. UEFA’s support will ensure the continued viability of the Football Association of Ireland and there is no threat to FAI Operations or to FAI staff."

At the start of the meeting, it was confirmed that Paul Cooke - the only candidate for the Honorary Treasurer post vacated by Eddie Murray - has been co-opted onto a sub-committee of the FAI Board dealing with ongoing reviews and enquiries into affairs at the troubled Association.

And council delegates were told that UEFA and FIFA are prepared to support them through a difficult spell. FIFA are due to meet FAI staff this afternoon.

Leinster Senior League official Dave Moran - who proposed Cooke for an immediate promotion into the troubleshooting process due to his background as a chartered accountant - described the session as a 'very positive meeting.'

He added that the atmosphere was very different to old Council meetings that he had experienced with the promise of backing from UEFA and FIFA reassuring the room.

"They are going to get huge backing from FIFA and UEFA," said Moran. "It was a very positive and open meeting with a lot of questions.

"A lot of the questions were about what's gone on. We also had the lads in from the Governance Review Group. Aidan (Horan - the committee chair) said that everything going forward will be more up front and more transparent. The governance will be much better."

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