'That process of reform is still far from complete' - FAI board members meet Ministers

The government has said that there are still reformations needed in the Football Association of Ireland before the body gets its State funding back.

'That process of reform is still far from complete' - FAI board members meet Ministers

The government has said that there are still reformations needed in the Football Association of Ireland before the body gets its State funding back.

Sport Minister Shane Ross and Minister of State Brendan Griffin met with five directors of the FAI and the soccer governing body's vice president Paul Cooke, with their financial advisers from Grant Thornton, in Leinster House.

The Ministers reiterated that the FAI is in a dark place, the brand has been damaged and much work needs to be done, according to a statement from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport this evening.

Minister Ross and Griffin said that “The KOSI report stated that an unreformed FAI was unfit to receive government funding.

That process of reform is still far from complete.

"The government cannot provide direct financial support to the FAI. We are finalising a mechanism to get our youth field programme funding to the front line.

"Our priorities are players at every level, staff in the organisation, volunteers across the country and supporters.

The department say that in the meeting, which lasted over an hour, the following points were agreed:

  • The FAI directors accepted the need for all previous directors to exit
  • The FAI directors accepted the need for a full change of culture in the organisation
  • The FAI directors accepted the need for the independent Chair and directors to be appointed urgently
  • The FAI directors accepted the need for the appointment of an independent CEO without undue delay

The Board of the Football Association of Ireland thanked Ministers Ross and Griffin for what they called "an open and honest meeting".

“The talks were constructive,” said Cooke afterwards. “We outlined our position as regards the current financial situation at the FAI, our ongoing governance reforms and culture change and where we go from here.

“We look forward to engaging further with the Ministers and the Department of Sport as we agree on the next steps.”

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