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Conway admits "collective failure" but defends service to Irish football

Jake O'Donnell
Jake O'Donnell

04:05 7 Dec 2019

On Friday the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) laid bare its true and undeniably grave financial state. 

John Delaney, the organisation's former CEO, had said the FAI could be debt free by 2020. It's now uncertain whether the organisation will even survive 2020.

In reality the organisation is €55,067,472 in debt and experiencing heavy cash flow issues.

Naturally, there are questions to be answered with many of them falling at the feet of FAI President Donal Conway, one of the last remaining figures from the Delaney-era board.

While many questions focused on the 'how', one that caused pause for thought was whether Conway believed he had served Irish football well.

With his thoughts collected the long-time board member – who announced he would be stepping down in January – took the opportunity to defend his legacy: "I do. I feel that I've invested a significant amount of time in Irish football in areas that I feel are the key elements of Irish football.

"The underage game, I think that everything draws from that well. Ultimately, I've spent time in all sorts of capacities working in the underage game before I arrived at the board.

"Even from there on, emerging talent programmes I would have always supported and sponsored. I invested huge amounts of time into player development. Those were the particular areas that I would have put a focus on.

"I'd be a follower of the game the league and all of that. You know, the league of Ireland, but I feel that it is incumbent on us to invest and invest significantly in the underage game."

On his impending departure from the organisation, Conway said his decision was "an acceptance of that collective failure of the board" that he was a part of.

"The areas that I worked on will still be there. There is still a player development plan. There is still a high performance strategy, all those parts of football are embedded now and will continue.

Asked whether he believed John Delaney had served Irish football well, Conway said he didn't wish to talk about the former FAI boss.

"At our last press conference I spoke about the former CEO and I said on that occasion that I was finished in press conferences talking about the former CEO."


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Donal Conway FAI Football Association Of Ireland John Delaney

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