We have been writing about the threat of this consistently since April. We have been shouted down by a number of commentators saying that it was scaremongering and would never happen. We have outlined exactly the provisions detailed in the letter received by the FAI this evening. As lately as this week, in response to Minister Ross’s letter, we suggested that the threat was once again real and present.
Here is the text of the statement just released by the FAI.
“Secretary-General of FIFA, Fatma Samoura, and the General Secretary of UEFA, Theodore Theodoridis, have today written a joint-communique to the FAI General Manager Noel Mooney.
In their letter, FIFA and UEFA note that the Minister for Sport requested the FAI President Donal Conway to “withdraw [his] nomination for re-election at the upcoming [ordinary Congress] to allow for new leadership with credible reform credentials, in the best interests of football.”
The letter continues: “FIFA and UEFA are seriously concerned regarding the aforementioned statement from the Minister for Sport. In this context, we draw your attention to art. 14 par. 1 let. i), 14 par. 3 and art. 19 of the FIFA Statutes as well as to art. 7bis par. 2 and art. 9 par. 1bis let. d of the UEFA Statutes, which oblige all member associations, including the FAI, to manage their affairs independently and without undue influence from any third party.
“Failure to meet these obligations may lead to sanctions as provided for in the FIFA Statutes and UEFA Statutes respectively, including a possible suspension, even if the third party influence was not the fault of the member association concerned.
“In this context, we kindly request that you communicate the foregoing to the relevant authorities and keep us closely informed on further developments regarding the matter at hand. We thank you for taking note of the above.
“The letter to the FAI will be discussed by the Board of the Association at its meeting tomorrow in Meath ahead of the EGM at the Dunboyne Castle Hotel. The letter has been forwarded to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross.”
The ball now sits squarely in the camp of the Department. The next move will one that could have serious repercussions for Irish football. It could mean the withdrawl of our teams from Euro Qualifying in the Mens’, Women’s and underage levels.
It could yet, incredibly, mean the withdrawal of our position hosting the Euro’s next summer.
That would be the repercussion of a suspension. That moved a significant step closer this evening.