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Niall Quinn confirms exit from FAI

He had been serving as Deputy CEO on an interim basis, but is now leaving the organisation.

File photo of Niall Quinn.
File photo of Niall Quinn.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

NIALL QUINN HAS today confirmed his exit from the FAI. 

Quinn, who has been serving as the interim Deputy CEO of the FAI since January, has written to FAI staff to tell them he is stepping away following an announcement last week that interim CEO Gary Owens would not be applying for the role on a permanent basis. 

He told FAI.ie: “I have really enjoyed my time working with the talented and dedicated staff in Abbottstown and I now have a better understanding of just how much great work they do for Irish football, often unheralded and seemingly always amidst a cloud of job uncertainty.

“When I joined the Association with Gary back at the end of January, we wanted to protect jobs and help implement real structural change within the FAI for the betterment of the Irish game. With the successful vote for change at last Monday’s EGM and the completed restructuring of day to day roles in HQ, the game can now look forward to a more productive future.

“Even though these changes were met with resistance by a small minority of constituents, the way is now clear for a new incoming CEO to drive football forward again. I will remain close to Irish football and I wish all of my colleagues the very best of luck in the coming weeks and months as more important changes are implemented to make our game and our association strong again. I will remain available to the FAI, as required, until the new CEO is in situ.”

Quinn was appointed interim Deputy CEO of the FAI shortly after Owens was brought in as interim CEO in Janaury, The pair, along with Independent Chairperson Roy Barrett, were past associates in a “Visionary Group” which last year published wide-ranging proposals for a revamp of the League of Ireland.

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Throughout his time at the FAI, Quinn insisted the scale of the Visionary Group has been overplayed, and said it was effectively disbanded after their proposals were published last May. 

Quinn’s eight months at the Association were tumultuous and began when the FAI struck a bailout deal with the State in Janaury. The terms of that bailout caused ructions among some elements of the membership, but were ultimately passed comfortably at an EGM last week. 

The former Irish striker was also centrally involved in the process to restart the League of Ireland season, a bruising process which ultimately – if belatedly – worked, with the league resuming on 31 July with a new streaming service, WatchLOI, broadcasting Premier Division games behind closed doors. The FAI have said they are encouraged by the number of subscriptions to the service, though have not yet released figures. 

The process of hiring a CEO is continuing, with a round of interviews last week whittling down eight shortlisted candidates to three. Olympic Federation president Sarah Keane and Adrian Bevington, once of the FA, are understood to be in contention for the role. 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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