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Independent chairperson to do 'thorough analysis' before deciding on FAI appointment

The arrival of four external members to the football body’s board has been made a priority by sports minister Shane Ross.

A view of FAI offices.
A view of FAI offices.
Image: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

THE LONG-AWAITED appointment of an independent chairperson to the board of the FAI is being held up as the candidate undertakes a “thorough analysis of issues and concerns within the FAI.” 

The FAI had hoped to have installed an independent chairperson along with a further three independent board members by the end of November, but that process has been delayed as the identified candidates do their due diligence.

The four candidates have been identified by external recruitment firm Amrop, who have passed profiles of each candidate to the FAI’s Nominations Committee, a five-person committee featuring two present FAI board members: outgoing president Donal Conway and Dick Shakespeare.

The FAI board do not know the names of the candidates.

In a letter to Sport Ireland and the Oireachtas Sport Committee, seen by The42, the FAI’s COO Rea Walshe wrote that the candidate for the role of Chair is “undertaking a thorough analysis of current issues and concerns within the FAI.” 

The three remaining candidates will be briefed on these concerns. 

While Ms. Walshe acknowledged the “urgency” attached to the appointment of the independent directors, she did not attach a timeline to their arrival. 

Sports minister Shane Ross has made the appointment of independent directors to the board a priority amid the continued suspension of state funding. 

The co-opting of two independent members to the FAI board was a recommendation of the Genesis Report of 2002, but it was not fulfilled. 

Elsewhere, Minister Ross and Sport Ireland will appear before the Oireachtas Sport Committee next Wednesday, 18 December, at 9.30am. 

The Committee have extended another invite to the FAI, and hope they will appear before Conway steps away as president on 25 January next year. 

Some Committee members also hope that Niall Quinn will appear before them in January, to further outline a vision to split the FAI into two separate bodies: one a commercial entity to organise the international teams with another state-funded body caring for the grassroots of the game. 

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Gavin Cooney

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