FAI President Donal Conway has said he is “absolutely delighted” that delegates at today’s EGM in Dunboyne gave what he described as their “resounding” backing to proposals for comprehensive reform of the association.
Rule changes to facilitate implementation of the first phase of the Governance Group Report were passed by 116 votes to 2.
After the meeting, Conway confirmed that, despite calls for him to step down by Sports Minister Shane Ross, he will stand unopposed for re-election as President to an interim board for a period of one year at next week’s AGM in Trim, which, he was also in a position to confirm, now goes ahead as scheduled.
“I am absolutely delighted with the vote, which was almost a complete majority,” he said. “It was resounding. There is a real appetite here for change for reform to start. Everybody, even the two members who had issues, all support reform, all believe in reform and all believe it is necessary. When I was asked before if we would get this across the line, I said that I thought football people would do the right thing. I do think there is a sense that this is very much Stage One on a much longer journey. And the report will be finessed and calibrated as we go forward.”
On the issue of when suspended Sport Ireland funding might be restored, Conway said that he had contacted Chief Executive John Treacy immediately after the meeting to appraise him of the outcome of the vote.
“I didn’t go to him, saying, ‘Listen, John, turn on the tap now’, but I just made sure he was aware of the outcome and I will probably speak to him again on Monday,” he said.
“I think there will have to be other steps of course – the conclusion of the KOSI audit would be an important step for Sport Ireland – and then there’s the work of that interim board over the next 12 months.
“I think you’re going to see EGMs to address rule change and constitutional change over the next 12 months and I think probably the final raft of rule change to completely embed the report at the AGM next year.
He added: “I think the funding will come back over the months but maybe at a slower rate than previously.”
Even though some 82 people who could have voted didn’t attend the meeting, Conroy maintained that the FAI membership had turned up for the EGM in what he called "very substantial numbers.”