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Dublin: 16 °C Tuesday 2 June, 2020

Poll: What should the FAI do about the McCarthy/Kenny succession plan?

Let’s play Fantasy FAI Board – if you had the power to resolve the current situation, what would you do?

Mick McCarthy and Stephen Kenny.
Mick McCarthy and Stephen Kenny.
Image: INPHO

WELL THAT’S NOT going to work after all, is it? 

Michael Nugent once dismissed the FAI as a “perpetually exploding clown-car”, and consistent with that image, John Delaney and the old FAI Board pulled up to the kerb in November 2018 and two senior international managers hopped out of a car that was only meant to seat one. 

It was all meant to work smoothly. Mick McCarthy would take charge until the end of Ireland’s interest in Euro 2020, with Stephen Kenny taking the job from there. The dates in the contracts would align with the Euros, with Mick’s ending on 31 July and Stephen’s beginning on 1 August. 

This was a long-term plan that sadly didn’t take into account the outbreak of a world-upending, generation-defining public health crisis, though, so now the new FAI board have inherited another headache. 

Ireland’s Euro 2020 play-off was yesterday postponed for a second time, and while there is no refixed date, it won’t be played before the scheduled handover between the two managers. 

So, what to do? The FAI could stick to the dates of the contracts, and allow Kenny to take charge of the conclusion of the Euros play-off along with the Nations League and World Cup qualifying group. 

There is a precedent set for this: Denmark had planned to replace their manager Age Hareide with Kasper Hjulmand at the end of Euro 2020, and are going to press ahead with the handover in spite of the postponing of the tournament. 

There is another argument, however, to say that these are extraordinary circumstances, and that the fairest thing to do is to allow McCarthy remain in charge to the end of Ireland’s interest in the European Championships. 

Fifa are expected to allow the expiring player contracts be extended from 30 June to the end of this season – whenever that may be – so there may be an equally relevant precedent set here.

There may be further complications with the calendar. What happens, for example, if the play-off is delayed by an entire year and the Nations League takes place before it? 

The FAI reacted to yesterday’s postponement by issuing a statement that said the Board noted the discussion and would discuss it at their next meeting. You’d imagine the McCarthy/Kenny succession plan will be raised. 

Taking into account the current context only, in which we don’t know when, where and in what competition Ireland will play next, what do you think the FAI should do? 

Vote below. 

Poll Results:

Mick should be allowed to stay on to complete the Euros campaign (4616)
Stephen should be given the job on 1 August, regardless of when the Euros play-off is staged (2471)

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About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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