There are new signatures on the bottom of the letter from the Government to the FAI but there is a resolute determination that the terms agreed for January’s rescue plan are not up for negotiation.
This will have to be absorbed by elements within the Association and the Board who had hoped for a more football based decision making process once the dust had settled on the much needed governance reforms where independent expertise was recognised as being vital.
An EGM is scheduled in place of the planned AGM that was due to take place later this month though there are still some company law matters that would need to be cleared in terms of final accounts.
Matters with the Gardaí and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement are also front of mind for those steering the ship, as well as the football elements including a return to sport at grassroots level, the return of the SSE Airtricity league, the international teams and the hosting of Euro 2020 next June.
Minister Catherine Martin and Dara Calleary have given those imagining a more football focused board in the fullness of time a clear indication that plans should be put on hold for any changes in the short to medium terms at the very least.
Last nights letter stated:
“We wish to confirm for the Board that the new Government has no intention of entering any discussion with the FAI or other stakeholders on the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in January by then Minister Shane Ross for the Government of Ireland and yourself on behalf of the FAI Board.”
“There is still serious work to be done to restore our trust that the FAI is fit to receive public funds. The conditions set out in the MOU are absolutely essential and we would encourage the Board, the FAI council and the broader membership of the association to redouble their efforts to implement these conditions in full.”
“We understand that an Extraordinary General Meeting is to be conveyed in the coming weeks to progress changes to the FAI Rulebook including providing for 6 independent directors on the Board.”
“Whilst there are likely to be some within your membership who would be opposed to these changes, to safeguard the future of the association and the livelihoods of its employees it is important that going forward best practice corporate governance is implemented across the association.”
“We would ask that all members of the Board show leadership to ensure there is no return to the financial and governance crisis which paralysed the FAI through most of last year.”
“We are firmly of the view that the vital reforms set out in the MOU will be transformational for the association, and that as well as safeguarding the future of this important sporting body it will enable the FAI to develop Irish soccer at every level.”
“There is extraordinary potential in the sport which was sadly untapped by the previous leadership. The time has come for a new well-run, inclusive FAI where all parts of the game work together constructively for the good of Irish soccer.”
“Sport Ireland will continue to work closely with the FAI to support the association’s overhaul which is sorely needed to rebuild public trust and prevent future crises.”
“We would like to reiterate our full support for Sport Ireland in this regard.”