FAI governance report recommends radical reform following Delaney controversy

FAI governance report recommends radical reform following Delaney controversy

Radical changes in the make-up of the FAI board and council are imminent after the governance review committee today published their report at Abbotstown.

Sport Ireland, the state agency, initiated the review after suspending grant aid amid ongoing controversies surrounding financial and governance affairs at the association.

Chaired by one of their three nominees, Aidan Horan, the five-person group have made 78 recommendations after meeting 11 times over the past eight weeks.

The recommendations that require rule changes will have to be passed by a third-third majority of members at the FAI annual general meeting July 27.

The FAI, led by President Donal Conway and interim general manager Noel Mooney, are to conduct a roadshow across Ireland in the coming weeks to present the report to its members.

Of the eight remaining board members, following the departures of John Delaney, Eddie Murray, Michael Cody and John Earley since March, only two will survive the shake-up.

An interim board of 12 people, including four new independent directors, is to take over for a year until the upheaval surrounding six separate investigations into the organisation abates.

The review group want a board to be comprised of four females within two years, a proportion also recommended for the expanded council.

That latter committee will expand from 58 to 70 with the expectation it will be reduced once the organisation enters a period of stability.

The President and Vice-President will remain on the board, subject to re-election, but the posts of Treasurer and Secretary are being abolished.

The six other board members will be nominated from within the current structure of the FAI. Two are to come from the cohort of national league clubs, both male and female, with another pair being drawn from the amateur pool. One other from either the schoolboy or schoolboy sector is entitled to be elected, with the final place stemming from the other elements of their umbrella.

Up to March, seven of the 11 board members had sat at the top table for over a decade.

In the report, potential nepotism, and a willingness to accept the status quo, were cited as problems with service exceeding best practice term limits.

Operating beneath the board is to be two new committees, one for football and the other for business and administration.

Earlier this week, the chairman of the Schoolboys Football Association of Ireland (SFAI) John Earley resigned from the FAI board.

It emerged in April that only two of the 10 other board members were made aware by then chief executive John Delaney of a €100,000 loan he gave to his employers in 2017 to alleviate cash flow problems.

Sports minister Shane Ross, through Sport Ireland, established a governance committee to reform the structures of the FAI - a minimum requirement for state funding to be restored. This report, which was delivered to the board last Thursday was finalised today.

Earley was the fourth director to quit the FAI board since March. Delaney was the first to go, briefly sidestepping into the newly-created role of executive vice-president when the crisis over his personal finances deepened.

Read the full report here.

Additional reporting by Digital Desk staff

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