January 10 – The embattled Football Association of Ireland (FAI), desperately looking for a financial bailout by the Irish government, has appointed Roy Barrett (pictured), managing director at Goodbody Stockbrokers, as the board’s new independent chairperson.
The FAI is struggling under €60 million of debt built up under disgraced former FAI chief executive John Delaney who resigned from the national governing body but still maintains a seat on UEFA’s executive committee.
Barrett is scheduled to meet with UEFA officials next week Irish department of sport officials as part of the delegation.
Early government reaction to Barrett’s appointment has been positive with minister for sport Shane Ross, who will be part of the delegation meeting UEFA, saying: “I’m very pleased to welcome Roy Barrett, Catherine Guy and Liz Joyce and to thank them as well for taking on what is going to be an extremely formidable task. It certainly does seem that at this stage we are going to enter into a new chapter in what has been a disastrous story. I am looking forward to a fresh, constructive dialogue opening between the new FAI and the government.
“They are taking on an association with a debt of €60 million, they’re taking on a formidable challenge but we think that their advent, which has been sought for a very long time and which has been resisted by the FAI for a very long time, will mean that those who are creditors and stakeholders will take great encouragement.”
Ross has called for “root and branch” reform and a culture change at the FAI.
Barrett’s job is to save the FAI from potential insolvency. A task that won’t be achieved without the joint support of the Irish government and UEFA. Also at risk is Ireland’s potential involvement in partnering with the British nations over a bid for the 2030 World Cup.
“There is a serious job of work to be done to address the very significant failures which have beset the organisation in terms of its governance and its finances. The new Board will now deal with this task with urgency, working collaboratively with its stakeholders,” said Barrett.
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