January 27 – Former Republic of Ireland striker Niall Quinn (pictured), one of the most respected figures in Irish football, has been appointed as the Football Association of Ireland’s (FAI) interim deputy chief executive as the federation strives to regain its credibility and reputation.
Quinn, who ruled himself out of the role of chief executive, had said he would be open to a role in helping out the organisation after his associate Roy Barrett was appointed as Independent Chairman of the FAI Board.
“In addressing the current challenges facing the FAI, the executive team want to ensure that the organisation’s core objective of the promotion and development of the game of football in Ireland is prioritised,” said a statement released by the FIA.
“Niall’s role with the team will focus on leading a future League of Ireland strategy, the overall development of the game in Ireland, including supporting grassroots and community initiatives together with our player pathway programmes. Niall will also focus on helping restoring and building key relationships and trust with key peer groups and the media.”
Quinn, who won 91 caps for the Republic before retiring in 2002, was chairman of English club Sunderland between 2006 and 2011.
The FAI has been in crisis since details of a “bridging loan” given to the association by former CEO John Delaney were made public last March. The FAI reportedly has liabilities of €62 million and is currently in talks with UEFA and other parties over a rescue package to prevent going into possible liquidation.
Delaney resigned as CEO of his national federation last March over a €100,000 personal loan he provided in 2017 that called into question serious governance issues. Although he was moved into a face-saving position as FAI executive vice-president with responsibility for all FIFA and UEFA matters, he was forced to leave that post too in September in the wake of a report in the Sunday Times newspaper that claimed he spent almost €40,000 on his work credit card in the space of six months shortly before he personally bailed out his federation.
The payments allegedly included duty-free purchases, meals in Delaney’s local pub and cash withdrawals of more than €6,000.
Despite all the allegations against him, which he denied, Delaney, who reportedly received €462,000 in his FAI settlement, remained a member of UEFA’s decision-making executive committee until last week when he finally gave up the post.
Irish minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross welcomed Quinn’s appointment as “great news for Irish football,” adding that Quinn’s “experience and skills will be invaluable as part of the management team to lead the reform that is so necessary within the FAI.”
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