Ross says Government will now support new-look FAI board

by Gary Ibbotson

Minister for Sport and Dublin-Rathdown TD Shane Ross has said that the Government will consider financially aiding the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) after the appointment of new independent directors to the board.

Minister Ross was speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland on Thursday, January 9 when he said that the Government are now willing to work with the organisation “now (that) we’ve got a new FAI”.

Before the appointment of new independent directors, Minister Ross was reluctant to provide financial aid to the FAI after it requested an €18m bailout.

Minister Ross said that the appointment of Roy Barret as independent chairman to the FAI was welcomed as well as the selection of Catherine Guy and Liz Joyce as independent directors.

Minister Ross thanked the new members for “taking on what will be an extremely formidable task” and “now we’ve got a new FAI, we’ll look at anything that’s put on the table”.

He said that the appointments represented a “new chapter in what has been a disastrous story” and although the FAI would not be given unlimited support, he is satisfied that the “precondition had been met” for financial backing.

Under the new regime, there will be an emphasis on developing grassroots football and the League of Ireland said the Minister.

Minister Ross said that the clearing out of the FAI board was met with opposition but they have “succeeded in doing against great resistance, is removing the entire board” but “that doesn’t automatically change the culture.”

There would be a particular emphasis on protecting junior and grassroots football, and the League of Ireland, Mr Ross said.

The FAI had strongly resisted the clearout of its board in recent months, Mr Ross said. “What we have succeeded in doing, he said. “But that doesn’t automatically change the culture,” he added.

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