February 7 – Former Irish international Niall Quinn (pictured) has welcomed the end of the crisis afflicting the Irish Football Association (FAI) following a torrid financial period that threatened to plunge the federation into liquidation.
Quinn, one of the most respected figures in Irish football, was recently appointed as interim deputy chief executive as the federation strives to regain its reputation and says he hopes the focus will now be what the country does on the pitch ahead of the commencement of the League of Ireland season and the Republic’s crucial upcoming Euro 2020 qualifier in Slovakia.
“It’s just been one big political narrative for a long time, so to see guys getting ready to play is great,” Quinn told RTE Sport. “And I think that they are going to be the ones to bounce the credibility back into the game by playing football.”
The future of the embattled FAI was recently assured after the Irish Government agreed to double its funding and give the federation an interest free loan of €2.5 million annually for the next three years as part of a refinancing arrangement.
The FAI had been desperately looking for a financial bailout as it struggled under €60 million of debt built up under former FAI chief executive John Delaney who resigned from the national governing body and, recently, also from the UEFA executive committee.
“We can’t turn water into wine, but we can show shifts to where we feel the FAI should be funding,” said Quinn.
“We would like to see every club with an academy playing national league football at underage levels. We believe an elite League of Ireland lifts the whole game with it as you can see from any other country in the world.”
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