Roy Barrett highlights Fifa and Uefa support for reforms ahead of crucial FAI Council meeting

Roy Barrett has written to members of the FAI National Council stressing Uefa's and Fifa's support for reform and the conditions laid out by the Irish government to continue state funding to the organisation.
Roy Barrett highlights Fifa and Uefa support for reforms ahead of crucial FAI Council meeting

Roy Barrett, independent chairman of the board of the FAI. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Roy Barrett, the independent chairman of the board of the FAI, has written to members of the body's National Council stressing Uefa's and Fifa's support for governance reform and the conditions laid out by the Irish government to continue state funding to the stricken association.

The National Council is due to meet on Friday to discuss reforms, including the six-six split on the board between independent directors and those from within the football fraternity which some fear will see the footballing body cede too much control to outsiders.

Barrett has also outlined the support for the reforms from government, Sport Ireland and the Bank of Ireland.

There was also an assurance from him that the AGM will remain the main legislative body of the FAI and therefore continue to have ultimate control. He warned that the FAI has reached a “critical point” in terms of its future direction.

FIFA's letter to the FAI makes clear their support, stating that the association is at a “financial crossroads” and that the body has made contractual arrangements with Bank of Ireland and the Irish government after having requested bailout funding.

“Consequently, the approval of the FAI-Government contractual arrangements is now the only viable option to secure the financial sustainability of your association," read the Fifa missive. 

"In fact, having exhausted all funding available from Fifa and Uefa, the FAI is dependent on securing government funding not to default.” 

For his part, Barrett laid bare the fact that the consequence of not supporting the reforms would be insolvency, which would in turn lead to a myriad of nightmare situations of the type that would put any previous problems facing Irish football in the shade.

Agreements with all clubs and leagues in the country would be voided. Membership of Fifa and Uefa in its current guise would expire. 

Their shares in the Aviva would be seized, some or all staff would lose jobs, capital investment in facilities would cease.

The Euro 2020 games in Dublin would also be in serious jeopardy.

The Council's meeting will take place at the Red Cow Hotel at 4pm on Friday where members will be presented with restructuring plans and be updated on the proposed changes to the FAI's rules and constitution.

A huge few days lie ahead. Yet again.

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