Niall Quinn accuses FAI of ‘circling wagons’ on reform

Niall Quinn has slammed the FAI’s reform bid, claiming he’s no interest in joining the new board.

Niall Quinn accuses FAI of ‘circling wagons’ on reform

Niall Quinn has slammed the FAI’s reform bid, claiming he’s no interest in joining the new board. The former Ireland striker and Sunderland chairman had been tipped to become part of a 12-person top table as one of the four independent directors.

Quinn, despite being part of a visionary group specifying objectives such as the national team reaching the World Cup semi-finals by 2038, opted out. Speaking last night on Virgin Media Sports, the Dubliner outlined his opposition to the governance review group’s (GRG) requirement for eight of new directors to come from within the football family.

The GRG was established in the wake of upheaval engulfing the organisation from March. Sport Ireland, which suspended their state aid, appointed three nominees to join the FAI’s two in devising the document.

Both President Donal Conway and schoolboys’ representative John Earley were allowed to remain in-situ due to the GRP recommending two directors to stay on for 12 months.

Quinn is aghast that none of the eight were female, a false start to a new rule decreeing four to be on the board by 2021. Two female candidates, Dodie McGuinness and Marie Price Bolger of the women’s FAI, didn’t attain sufficient support from delegates to be elected at the AGM.

Quirke's Final Preview: Kerry's matchups. The Fenton factor. Walsh wildcard. Gough controversy

Conway said at that summit last month that they intended addressing the imbalance through the appointment of independent directors.

“The FAI have circled the wagons and got themselves back into power because of what the GRG came up with,” said Quinn. “It was poor that they turned down the opportunity of putting two women (of the eight) on the board. Now they say two women must come from the four independents.

“It all looked ambitious in June but then the AGM came, allowing eight of the old FAI to get together. That doesn’t attract anyone from outside like me to go in and do anything about it.”

Quinn feels the continuous revelations about governance issues are keeping the spotlight on Conway and his colleagues from within.

He said: “The old FAI is alive and well. There will be a lot of pressure on the old guard still to prove they’re the correct people to turn the corner. I read that the League of Ireland clubs aren’t happy. Maybe we can be of some assistance to those about their own plans.”

FAI directors: Donal Conway (President), Paul Cooke (Vice-President), Martin Heraghty (Sligo Rovers) and Dick Shakespeare (UCD), John Finnegan (Munster) and Dave Moran (Leinster), Joe O’Brien (Colleges FAI) and John Earley (SFAI).

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox