Uefa finance chief to join FAI crisis mission

Uefa are making their top finance man available to the FAI as the organisation seeks to move on from the current crisis.

Finance Director Josef Koller will have a hands-on but not full-time role in Abbotstown with the remit of overseeing the Association’s financial strategy.

European football’s governing body has already seconded Noel Mooney to Dublin with a ‘general manager’ title which, in effect, will make him the acting CEO for a period of six months from June to November.

Before he takes up the role on June 3, the former Cork City goalkeeper has already made preliminary contact with various interested parties, including Stephen McGuinness, the General Secretary of the footballers’ union the PFAI, and former international Niall Quinn who is the frontman for the group which has been putting together a blueprint for a radical shake-up of the domestic game.

Mooney and Quinn have only spoken by phone so far but it is expected that the two will meet for more formal discussions at a later date.

Quinn and his associates will attend Minister of Sport Shane Ross’s ‘stakeholders forum’ addressing the state of Irish football at the Mansion House next Friday, an event to which an invitation has also been extended to FAI staff.

The Abbotstown staff, who have made collective and individual submissions to the ongoing FAI/Sport Ireland Governance Review Group - whose final report, following an interim one on June 14, is due to be delivered on June 21 - have also established their own forum which will meet regularly to discuss internal issues.

Meanwhile, the FAI have responded positively to the news that FIFA have dropped plans to expand the 2022 World Cup from 32 to 48 teams.

Had the expansion gone ahead, it would have meant Qatar would have had to share hosting duties with other countries in the region, which would not only have created a major logistical headache in advance of that tournament but also put back the bidding process for the 2030 World Cup for two years.

The FAI are currently engaged in a feasibility study with the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football associations about mounting a bid to host the tournament in 2030. “The 2030 bid is ongoing and this decision means that does not delay the process,” said an FAI spokesman.

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