We knew he was coming as part of a UEFA team to assist the FAI but last night it was confirmed that Noel Mooney would be joining for an extended period of six months as General Manager for Football Services and Partnerships.
Rea Walshe will step down from the position of interim CEO to resume her position as Chief Operating Officer.
Neither will be members of the FAI Board which means they will be unaffected by the AGM in July.
The moves take the pressure off the search for a new permanent CEO which had been targetted for July but which can now take shape under the remit of a new board to be elected at the AGM in Trim County Meath.
Mooney served as Head of Marketing for the League of Ireland for five years up until 2012 when he left to join UEFA, first as a Marketing Manager and since August 2017 as Head of National Association’s Business Development leading the GROW programme.
He is also a Board Director of the Federation of Irish Sport and he crossed over both roles when presenting the joint UEFA and Federation Masterclass at the Aviva Stadium on March 1st.
Sport for Business has worked with Mooney on a number of projects and his presence at such a challenging time will be a major boost for the FAI and for the confidence that both the Irish Government and more importantly World Football will have in its ability to navigate the rough waters it finds itself.
It also makes it less likely that FIFA will insist on parachuting in its own team as part of a normalisation committee as that is effectively what has happened.
We would expect that Mooney will keep his employers at UEFA and through them, FIFA, appraised of developments.
The importance of the FAI’s good standing is doubly important only 12 months out from being one of the host cities for Euro 2020.
His appointment starts on June 3rd and will run for an agreed period of six months until November 30th.
“UEFA’s advice and support will be very important to the FAI as will Noel Mooney’s UEFA experience and knowledge,” said FAI President Donal Conway.
“Noel Mooney will also play a key role in our engagements with all of our stakeholders as we deliver change for Irish football.”
“Working with all of our stakeholders, I am confident Irish football will emerge stronger and better over the next few months as we listen to the voices of those who want the game to succeed and are determined to deliver the radical reform required for Irish football,” added Mooney.
“In my time with UEFA I have led teams across Europe developing football in many countries. Returning home to help the FAI with its challenges is something I will embrace as we deliver change with our highly committed staff and all our leagues, clubs and partners.”
Two of his first items to deal with on his arrival will be the review of submissions on future Governance of the FAI and the scandal breaking over the weekend over a potential betting scandal involving the game between Cobh Ramblers and Limerick.