Niall Quinn has told Football Association of Ireland staff that the financial outlook isn’t as bad as he’d feared.
The association’s new deputy chief executive kicked off his first day on the job by hosting a midday meeting of over 160 staff in Abbotstown.
In contrast to the previous townhall summits hosted by Noel Mooney and Paul Cooke over recent months, this event was moved to the bigger auditorium usually reserved for Mick McCarthy’s briefings during international week.
Quinn, flanked by his fellow new recruit, interim chief executive Gary Owens, held court for almost 40 minutes, setting out his initial observations and plans.
Despite the former Ireland striker using the dreaded ‘redundancies’ word on television interviews when first announced last Thursday, there were no direct questions from the floor.
The duo held a subsequent sit-down at the new FAI connect forum, a collection of 12 employee representatives.
This committee, otherwise known as the staff forum, was part of the recommendations contained in the governance review committee published last June.
Quinn posted an upbeat outlook in the face of unprecedented financial challenges.
The FAI may be are carrying €70m of debt and won’t be cash-positive for another three years, regardless of whether McCarthy navigates a path through the Euro play-offs in March.
But hot on the heels of new FAI president Gerry McAnanay declaring over the weekend his desire on Saturday to ensure lower-paid staff avoid the cull, Quinn said the situation wasn’t so bleak as initially feared.
The Dubliner, currently living in Kildare, gave indications of early commercial interest in the FAI.
Quinn and Owens will make their first trip to Uefa’s headquarters in Nyon on Friday.
The European governing body supply around €15m per annum to Irish football but the breakdown of that spend is not publicised.
Sports Minister Shane Ross, who has welcomed the appointment of Quinn, is due to rubberstamp the state’s involvement in a rescue package to avoid the FAI entering examinership.
That announcement may well coincide with next week’s final days of the general election campaign.
Before then, Quinn and Owens have to try resolve the dispute over the participation or not of a Shamrock Rovers reserve team in the First Division.
Meanwhile three former FAI board members have been accepted onto the association’s new committee structures.
Jim McConnell and Noel Fitzroy were proposed by their provinces for the domestic committee.
And schoolboys’ chief John Earley is part of a new high-performance forum.
DDSL Chairman Paddy Dempsey has been nominated for the Football Management Committee just a month after declining the chance of joining the board.