FAI appoints Paul Cooke to new role of executive lead

FAI appoints Paul Cooke to new role of executive lead
Paul Cooke

The FAI have switched Vice-President Paul Cooke to a full-time position of executive lead as their search for a new CEO continues.

Sports Minister Shane Ross yesterday scuppered the association’s plan to appoint John Foley to the interim post.

Foley’s long-standing role as a director of the FAI’s League of Ireland executive proved a stumbling block as Ross wants to eliminate links to what he describes as the ‘old FAI’.

Cooke was also previously involved in the administration of the game but mainly on the opposite side of the regime led by former chief executive John Delaney. He was soon marginalised after asking questions of the FAI finances at the 2009 AGM.

The Waterford man is now at the helm following a meeting of the interim board last night. At the summit of eight directors, of which Cooke is one, they signed off on the 2018 accounts and agreed upon a new role of executive lead. The accounts will be published on Thursday ahead of a recovened AGM on December 28.

FAI staff today received an email confirming the development and inviting those based in Abbotstown to a meeting with Cooke at 4pm.

He will be based at FAI HQ, reporting to the current chairman of the board, which for now remains President Donal Conway.

Conway was due by now to be replaced by an independent chairman but that process has also been delayed. Under the governance review group recommendations, four independent directors were to join to complete a 12-person board.

However, there has been apprehension on their behalf while a number of reports on the affairs of the FAI remain outstanding. The first of those probes by Sport Ireland, which was carried out by Newry-based auditing firm KOSI, was last week referred to gardaí.

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