Mooney: Ross opposition based on scoring political points

Mooney: Ross opposition based on scoring political points

Noel Mooney believes government opposition to his role at the FAI is “bonkers and not based in reality” but says he is prepared to leave his position as caretaker general manager “for the good of Irish football”.

Mooney previously worked in a marketing role for the FAI before embarking on a career at Uefa. And Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, believes his links with the previous regime at Abbotstown make him unsuitable for a long-term position within the Irish game.

Speaking to his former Cork City teammate Neal Horgan and another former City player Darren Murphy, on the Irish Examiner Soccer Podcast, Mooney hit back at the minister.

“The government, the minister, has made it clear he’d like if I wasn’t here, because I used to work for the FAI. I think that’s crazy stuff, to be honest with you. I worked in middle management. I was let go by the FAI, they are the facts. I had no impact on the big decisions of the FAI when I was here.

Soccer Podcast: The Noel Mooney Interview — Will the FAI show League of Ireland the love?

“I went around Europe for the last eight years to prove myself and to learn to operate at the highest level you can off the pitch. I worked with all of the federations of Europe, from the biggest to the smallest, in practically every area. If there’s somebody out there who’s got a better skillset to run the association, that’s great.

“I think it’s really throwing the baby out with the bathwater to say, because I worked in the association many years ago… But you have to do the right thing for Irish football, so if the government thinks it’s the right thing that I go back to Uefa…I think that’s the right thing to do.”

Mooney rejected the idea that he has been tarnished by his previous role, given the several ongoing reviews of the way the FAI has conducted its business.

“It’s just bonkers. It’s not based in reality. It’s based on wanting to score political points. The FAI is an easy punching bag at the moment. I understand why people say, just scorch everything that was ever there, burn everything and start again, but that’s not based in reality.”

Mooney admitted his own frustrations with the FAI during his spell in a marketing role.

Within two years the entire marking budget was wiped out. I was frustrated at the FAI with the lack of investment, the lack of budget that you required to bring the League of Ireland to the next level.

But he recalled a meeting in Limerick when the FAI discussed a revolutionary change in how the League of Ireland would be run.

“It looked like the FAI would have real money. We sat here working on a document to take over all of the clubs and centralise all the contracts of the players, to get all the clubs professional.

“It was 2008, I think. We sat, asking what would it take to take over the contracts of the players, like the IRFU would have. And then what happened, the Vantage Club ticket project failed. And it was back to recession and cuts.

Today a League of Ireland working group will present its review of proposals for the league’s future, including businessman Kieran Lucid plans for a cross-border structure. Mooney regards this a pivotal moment for the league.

“Coming home one of the real attractions was to find a real big decision for the League of Ireland. Whether that’s a cross-border league or a much better version of what we have. We need big brave decisions. It needs radical reform. There’s no question about that. It needs government involved. It needs big investment.

“It can’t be a four-year plan or a five-year plan, it has to be a 20- or 30-year plan. Because you’re investing in stadiums and in young players and that doesn’t happen in three or four years.”

Listen to the Irish Examiner Soccer Podcast on SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and irishexaminer.com/podcast

More on this topic

Ronaldo scores 700th career goal but cannot prevent Portugal defeatRonaldo scores 700th career goal but cannot prevent Portugal defeat

Kaan Ayhan earns Turkey a point against wasteful FranceKaan Ayhan earns Turkey a point against wasteful France

O’Neill proud as Northern Ireland survive late fightback to beat Czech RepublicO’Neill proud as Northern Ireland survive late fightback to beat Czech Republic

England hammer Bulgaria in Euro 2020 qualifier marred by racist abuseEngland hammer Bulgaria in Euro 2020 qualifier marred by racist abuse


More in this Section

Moves under way to take action against Bulgarian racismMoves under way to take action against Bulgarian racism

Football rumours from the mediaFootball rumours from the media

Southgate proud as England make more than one statementSouthgate proud as England make more than one statement

World Rugby clears Ireland of accusations levelled by Sunday newspaperWorld Rugby clears Ireland of accusations levelled by Sunday newspaper


Lifestyle

Fiann Ó Nualláin follows in the footsteps of the Fianna as he explores a province’s hills and vales.Munster marvels: Plants that are unique to a province

Cupid must be something of a motoring enthusiast, as he had most definitely steered his way in the neighbourhood when Amie Gould and Shane O’Neill met at the Rally of the Lakes 12 years ago.Wedding of the Week: Cupid steers couple to right track

When it comes to podcasting, all it takes is one idea — and who knows where it can take you.Podcast Corner: Crimes and creatures rule at Cork’s first podcast fest

Claymation meets science fiction in this enchanting film, writes Esther McCarthy.Latest Shaun adventure is out of this world

More From The Irish Examiner