Ross indicates support for splitting the FAI in two

“I'm open to talk to anybody who has got constructive suggestions about the FAI, because the FAI is a complete and utter basketcase."

Ross indicates support for splitting the FAI in two

Proposals to split the FAI into two separate entities have received tentative support from both Sports Minister Shane Ross and a football players' representative.

The reactions followed reports that FAI staff and politicians have devised a proposal whereby the crisis-hit association would be divided into two separate entities, one which would be responsible for the international teams, while the other would support grassroots development.

It is not yet clear which, if either, body would assume responsibility for running the League of Ireland.

Included in the plan is a proposal for the Government to support the grassroots entity to the tune of some €10m per year, up from its current level of funding of some €2.9m per annum.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Shane Ross (pictured above) said he would listen to any constructive proposals for the future of football.

'Complete and utter basketcase'

“I'm open to talk to anybody who has got constructive suggestions about the FAI, because the FAI is a complete and utter basketcase, it's in a very, very dark place at the moment,” he said.

“If we've got people like Brian Kerr and Niall Quinn who are going to make suggestions, I would be very happy to talk to them about it. The Government's interest is to protect the funding - the €2.9m which we give to the FAI every year.

“Money for the grassroots should not go to the FAI, but should go to the grassroots - the grassroots must not be allowed to suffer from what's gone wrong at the FAI.

“We are devising a mechanism - which I hope will be ready next week - whereby we can channel that money to grassroots football without any interruption: that's absolutely imperative for us because we're interested in football... we're not interested in the FAI.

“The Government can't believe the association which runs Irish football has sunk to such an awful low.

"What we cannot believe - and I cannot understand, and I think is quite unforgivable - is that the independent directors who were promised to us for so long have still not been appointed by the FAI.

“We've got to see an organisation which is independent of what's happened in the past - that's terribly important."

'The sins of the past'

He said he did not want to insinuate that everybody in the FAI "has been bad" adding "there are some really good people in there, and there have been some really good people in there".

“But I do want to see it patently clear to the public and to ourselves as Government that those who are taking over now are not affected by the sins of the past," he said.

Stephen McGuinness, General Secretary of the Professional Footballers’ Association of Ireland also said the proposal is worth hearing out.

“When you look at Irish football and where we currently stand, I think any ideas and concepts that can continue to allow the game at both grassroots level and at league level to continue has to be discussed and has to be teased out,” he told Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1.

“This is something that most people within the soccer community will be in favour of, once the grassroots level of the game is continued to be invested in because at the moment, the current situation that the FAI are in, that looks like in the short or long term it's not going to be possible,” he said.

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