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FAI Chairman Barrett fears staff morale may be affected by ongoing Robbie Keane situation

Keane remains under contract at the FAI but has not had a role at the Association for almost a year.

Roy Barrett (left) and Robbie Keane.
Roy Barrett (left) and Robbie Keane.
Image: INPHO

FAI CHAIRPERSON ROY Barrett admits he fears morale among rank-and-file staff members at the FAI may be affected by the ongoing situation surrounding legendary former Ireland captain Robbie Keane. 

Keane signed a four-year contract with the FAI in 2018 and joined Mick McCarthy’s coaching staff with the senior international team but was not retained on the staff when Stephen Kenny took over last April. While the FAI came to an agreement with McCarthy and his assistant Terry Connor prior to announcing Kenny’s ascension to the senior job, no agreement was reached with Keane. 

Thus Keane has remained on the FAI payroll since, without a role at the Association while earning a reported annual salary of €250,000.

Keane, like all other employees at the FAI, took a pay deferral last year amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but all pay has now been restored to pre-pandemic levels. Staff are still owed 75% of the money from the deferral last year, and it’s understood Siptu are engaging with the FAI on the issue. 

Eager to return to coaching, Keane has been volunteering at Shamrock Rovers and was photographed in the Rovers’ dug-out at Tallaght Stadium during a pre-season friendly against Cork City at the start of this month.

Barrett said last December that new CEO Jonathan Hill would meet with Keane to discuss assigning him a role at the FAI, but the CEO revealed on 26 February he had yet to hold those talks.

Speaking after an FAI EGM this afternoon, Barrett revealed there has now been dialogue between Hill and Keane, saying he accepts the point of poor optics regarding the lengthy interlude without any talks between the pair. 

“To be honest I will leave that to Jonathan and the executive. There has been some dialogue and that will be ongoing. I take your point.

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“Of course I hope it will be resolved. What goes between the parties stays between the parties, and let them resolve it.”

Asked whether he worried that Keane’s status without a role and a healthy remuneration may affect morale among ordinary staff members at the FAI, Barrett replied, “Yes I do”, though says he has not discussed the matter with anyone. 

“I haven’t talked to staff about this specific issue and nor would I. I wouldn’t talk to any staff member about the circumstances or employment contract of another staff member.”

Meanwhile, Barrett also issued a vote of confidence to Stephen Kenny in the wake of last night’s World Cup qualifier defeat to Luxembourg. 

 
 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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