Kennedy to stand in as IFA chief executive

Irish Football Association president Raymond Kennedy is taking on the mantle of chief executive in addition to his own role – until Thursday at least.

That is when the governing body’s 11-man board will meet in Belfast, following the sacking of Howard Wells.

The panel will then decide what is the best way forward and whether Kennedy should continue in the short term until Wells’ successor is appointed.

There has been tension between Wells and Kennedy for some time. It was revealed in August that Wells had taken a grievance case against his employer, claiming he had been treated unfairly because he was English.

Then last week it was reported he was a leading contender for the chief executive’s position at the Football Association when Brian Barwick leaves.

Kennedy said no financial settlement had been reached with Wells, who is consulting his lawyers following his sudden dismissal.

Northern Ireland Sports Minister Gregory Campbell has thanked Wells for his contribution to football in the province.

He said: “I have been advised about the IFA’s decision to terminate Mr Wells’ contract. This is a matter for the Irish Football Association.

“I would, however, like to thank Howard Wells for the contribution he has made to soccer in Northern Ireland since his appointment – and I wish him well for the future.”

Wells was the IFA’s first chief executive – he had held similar posts at Watford and Ipswich. An experienced sports administrator, he was the inaugural chairman of UK Sport and also chaired the Central Council for Physical Recreation.

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