Soccer

"Clear everything out and start again" - Stephen Kelly on the FAI

Jake O'Donnell
Jake O'Donnell

01:11 17 Apr 2019


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Former Ireland international Stephen Kelly has echoed the calls of Niall Quinn to rebrand the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) as a new organisation.

Speaking on Wednesday’s OTB AM, the 39-cap international said that rebranding would make sense and be in the benefit of those involved with football in Ireland.

In 2018, the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) was rebranded as the Olympic Federation of Ireland in an attempt to move away from the controversies stemming from the arrest of the OCI’s president, Pat Hickey, during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“If you see what happened with the Olympic Council [of Ireland] it did seem to just change everything and now it seems rosy," Kelly explained.

"With sponsorship it will make a difference because you don't want to be associated with something that is tarnished you want to be associated with something that is new and fresh and has got a good way about it.

“At the moment it looks like it's going to have to clear everything out and start again which is the way to go forward but it's just disappointing that they have got themselves into this position."

FAI President Donal Conway and John Delaney.

When asked if he was shocked by the revelations about the FAI in recent weeks, Kelly said that the extent of what has been revealed has been surprising. But when attempts were made to injunct stories about the FAI, he believed everybody knew it would “open a can of worms”.

“The issue is the fact he had so much power: it was one man at the top. He is the CEO, but he's not like [Elon] Musk you know, it's not his company.

"He hasn't invented the FAI its not like he's made this from the ground up. He was brought into run this company and that's the disappointing part that he was able to gather so much power and have so much say over everything.

"And it was down to one man and it wasn't a committee thing even thought it was supposed to be. It was all down on John."

The 35-year-old recalled his days in the Irish squad when, if the players needed anything, they would at times bypass the management team and go straight to Delaney - such was his power to fix things for the squad including travel and accommodation arrangements.

Kelly continued by stating that the FAI was being damaged most by its lack of transparency.

"At the moment they just seem to be focused on ‘Let's protects ourselves. How will we get through this?’ But that's not going to happen.

"The more people investigating this it’s just going to get worse."

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FAI FAI Loan Football Association Of Ireland Ireland John Delaney Oireachtas Committee Stephen Kelly

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