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FAI will wait until June before resolving Kenny-McCarthy conundrum - Niall Quinn

The Interim Deputy CEO also spoke about the impact of the coronavirus crisis on League of Ireland clubs.

Niall Quinn (file pic).
Niall Quinn (file pic).
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION of Ireland’s Interim Deputy CEO Niall Quinn says the organisation will wait until June before making their intentions clear on the controversial Mick McCarthy-Stephen Kenny succession plan.

Kenny had originally been set to replace McCarthy as Ireland manager after the Euros, with the latter’s contract due to expire in July.

However, today’s announcement that the Euros will be postponed for a year owing to the coronavirus outbreak complicates matters.

Ireland’s qualifying play-off semi-final with Slovakia, originally planned for 26 March, has also been pushed back and is now set to take place between 1 and 9 June “subject to a review of the situation,” according to Uefa.

If Ireland fail to qualify for the Euros, it is presumed that the original plan — for McCarthy to step down in July and Kenny to take charge — will remain.

However, if Ireland qualify or if the play-off is pushed back to a later date, there is uncertainty as to whether the current boss will remain in the job.

Speaking to FAI TV today, Quinn said the organisation would not make their precise plans public until June.

“I don’t think there’s any point in trying to do anything about that now,” he said. “We’re still in a position where we don’t know if we’re going to the Euros or not. We’ll know on 10 June.

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“I would have thought 10 June would be a good time to start worrying about that particular instance. We’ll do that at the right time and we’ll speak to the stakeholders first. We won’t be talking publicly about that until the right time.”

Quinn also confirmed that the FAI had been in consultation with the League of Ireland clubs over the past week.

The coronavirus outbreak has caused a raft of match postponements, leaving many clubs without much-needed match-day income indefinitely and prompting some to fear for their future. The domestic schedule appears unlikely to recommence until April at the earliest, as per Uefa and government guidelines.

“We’re assessing the impact daily of what this is doing to the clubs and how hard it is for them,” Quinn said. “Some of them have already announced that they won’t be able to pay players. That’s falling in line with the national emergency that’s occurred with thousands of people being laid off.

It’s a tough time, we get that, and we’re trying really hard to come up with some solutions with the clubs and the PFAI and the players themselves that will give us some sense of satisfaction in this extraordinary time and that players can be helped in some shape or form.

“There’s a big meeting on Thursday with the League of Ireland clubs and our steering group will continue to work and assess if there is something in Europe that we can go to, we’ll go. If there is something in government, we would look at that too. But every industry is in the same boat. We have to dig deep to shelter our players and clubs, who will lose huge revenues. It’s a huge worry, but all we can do is get the stakeholders around the table, make it the priority that it is and try to deliver something that brings about some form of comfort in a terrible time.”

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Paul Fennessy

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