Mixed reaction to muddling FAI statement
Article by Kieran Burke - @KieranBTS
In the last few minutes, the Football Association of Ireland have released a statement to announce the resignation of board members, Michael Cody and Eddie Murray, while former CEO John Delaney has “offered to voluntarily step aside from carrying out his role as Executive Vice-President with immediate effect pending the completion of an independent investigation by the Association into issues of concern to the Board.”
Following yet another day of crisis talks among the members of the under-fire FAI board, the following statement was released just shy of 6:00PM this evening:
The Board of the Football Association of Ireland met in Dublin today. Following that meeting, the sub-committee of the Board met with Executive Vice-President John Delaney.
John Delaney has offered to voluntarily step aside from carrying out his role as Executive Vice-President with immediate effect pending the completion of an independent investigation by the Association into issues of concern to the Board.
Honorary Secretary Michael Cody and Honorary Treasurer Eddie Murray have both voluntarily resigned from the Board.
The Board would like to thank Michael Cody and Eddie Murray for their long service to Irish football and wish them well after their voluntary resignations.
The meeting of the Board also mandated the sub-committee, set up to review Governance and recently publicised financial transactions, to press ahead with their work as a matter of urgency. The FAI will update Sport Ireland on all developments ahead of the meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Sport tomorrow.
The Board of the Association wishes to assure members, football supporters and all stakeholders and sponsors that it is expediting all processes designed to restore faith in the Football Association of Ireland.
The Board acknowledges all concerns raised by stakeholders and supporters and is working to ensure that all Government funding is restored to Irish football at the earliest opportunity.
However, despite widespread calls for the immediate removal of John Delaney and other members of the FAI board over the past number of weeks from supporters, political figures and members of the press, this evening's statement has been met with skepticism and confusion as critics claim it does not go far enough and fails to fully bring a conclusion to John Delaney’s association with the FAI.
98FM’s Jamie Moore raised the possibility that John Delaney could indeed remain with the FAI post investigation, while PFAI solicitor, Stuart Gilhooly attempted to shed some light on why the FAI statement may have been deliberately written with such an apparent gap left open for the former CEO.
Clearly the FAI board received legal advice that in the absence of a resignation they would need to carry out an investigation before taking further action. Legally probably correct but a disaster for an already beleaguered organisation that needs closure on this fiasco.— Stuart Gilhooly (@PFAISolicitor) April 15, 2019
With Sport Ireland declaring they will not restore any public funding towards the FAI until there are major changes in governance at the association, today’s statement and subsequent boardroom reshuffles are high unlikely to be enough to satisfy those in charge of government funding and already Labour’s Aodhan O’Riordain has hit out at the lack of clarity in the latest FAI press release.
With a full round of League of Ireland Premier Division fixtures set to kick-off in just over an hours time, it remains to be seen if followers of the domestic league will continue their vocal and visual protests against the FAI as seen in grounds up and down the country in recent weeks. However, it appears almost certain that despite his offer to “step aside pending the completion of an independent investigation by the Association into issues of concern to the Board” that John Delaney’s final days in Irish football are still to be written.