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Winds of change blow through FAI board as former Sligo Rovers chairman Heraghty leaves

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Martin Heraghty (left) has left his position on the FAI's board, while president Gerry McAnaney (right) will face a challenge at the EGM from Dave Moran. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile and Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Martin Heraghty (left) has left his position on the FAI's board, while president Gerry McAnaney (right) will face a challenge at the EGM from Dave Moran. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile and Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Martin Heraghty (left) has left his position on the FAI's board, while president Gerry McAnaney (right) will face a challenge at the EGM from Dave Moran. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile and Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Changes are afoot on the FAI board ahead of next month’s EGM, with ex-Sligo Rovers chairman Martin Heraghty the first to leave.

Last year’s €35m state bailout was conditional on two football directors stepping aside to facilitate an equal split with independents on the 12-person board.

There was much opposition to the realignment, especially as a Sports Ireland-commissioned report recommended the introduction of only four directors a few months earlier, but the threat of losing vital government grants led to members coming onside last August.

Amid the shake-up, one director from the pairs currently representing the League of Ireland and amateur affiliates must vacate their seats by the EGM on May 23.

Ahead of Friday’s deadline for applications, Heraghty chose against contesting an election, leaving Dick Shakespeare to stay on.

Shakespeare has long-standing links to UCD and is currently the assistant chief executive of Dublin City Council working on, among his other tasks, the Dalymount redevelopment project.

Elsewhere, former Colleges FAI (CFAI) Chairman Joe O’Brien also holds onto his board seat, fending off Nixon Morton 10-8 in his election on Thursday night.

Morton, from the FAI Schools, unsurprisingly earned the six votes from his affiliate but was only able to attract support from one of the others, namely Football For All (FFA).

O’Brien accrued the pairs of votes from Defence Forces, Colleges FAI, Irish Universities, Women’s Soccer Colleges Association of Ireland and Referees to prevail.

While much of the attention over the past year has focussed on the increase in external directors, it is the contests among the football fraternity now causing friction.

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President Gerry McAnaney will face a challenge at the EGM from Dave Moran, already on the board from the amateur ranks.

Likewise, vice-president Paul Cooke must beat off competition from another fellow director, Ursula Scully.

Should the Schoolboys/girls representative dethrone Cooke, it is expected her place on the board will be allocated to Tom Browne from the Waterford underage league.

The elections of president and vice-president will be decided by a ballot of the new FAI assembly, which is heavily weighted in favour of both the amateur and underage football ranks.

The new structure, which replaces the senior council and AGM membership, consists of 141 delegates and divided into three pillars - professional, amateur and national bodies.


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