Minister Ross urges football bodies to have re-think on appointment

Sports Minister Shane Ross has urged the Football Association of Ireland to review the appointment of Noel Mooney as the organisation's acting chief, amid concerns over his links to the John Delaney regime.

Minister Ross urges football bodies to have re-think on appointment

Sports Minister Shane Ross has urged the Football Association of Ireland to review the appointment of Noel Mooney as the organisation's acting chief, amid concerns over his links to the John Delaney regime.

Mr Ross demanded action on the issue at the first Irish football stakeholder forum, as both the FAI and European soccer body UEFA blamed each other for the appointment decision.

In the aftermath of former FAI chief executive Mr Delaney's decision to "step back" from the organisation due to a series of financial revelations, Mr Mooney was appointed as general manager.

Mr Mooney has taken a six-month leave of absence from his current UEFA role and has previously been linked with the FAI, including a decision last year to praise Mr Delaney.

In advance of yesterday's forum, Mr Ross said he was unhappy with the appointment.

Warning about any perceived links to the former management and a lack of transparency in the recruitment process, the minister urged football authorities to re-examine the appointment.

"We've made our views absolutely clear, the appointment should be absolutely transparent and we are looking for a full regime change," he said.

We don't want to see, and prefer not to see, people from the past. I want to see people who are completely new, fresh and independent of links with the past.

"Noel Mooney's appointment does not seem to us to be consistent with the drive for reform with new independent faces.

"We are very keen for funding to be restored as soon as possible. How far, we are, is up to the FAI. It doesn’t help matters Noel Mooney being appointed," he said.

When Mr Mooney was appointed, the FAI said it was a UEFA decision. However, UEFA has said it was a matter for the FAI.

Meanwhile, former Ireland international Niall Quinn revealed an ambitious plan for the complete overhaul of Irish football.

Mr Quinn, who has been repeatedly linked with a role in any genuinely-reformed FAI, said his Ireland Visionary Group wants to see a professional League of Ireland by 2026 and a 7.5% year-on-year participation numbers rise.

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