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'They are presenting an alternative view of history' | Are politicians wrong on the FAI?

The FAI has lurched from crisis to crisis over the past 18 months and the struggles facing the FA...

'They are presenting an altern...

'They are presenting an alternative view of history' | Are politicians wrong on the FAI?

The FAI has lurched from crisis to crisis over the past 18 months and the struggles facing the FAI are by no means over, according to Dan McDonnell.

McDonnell and Kieran Cunningham joined The Sunday Paper Review to dissect the weekend's biggest sporting stories, one of which centred on recent criticism aimed at the FAI from Sligo and Leitrim TD, Marc MacSharry.

MacSharry has criticsied FAI chairman Roy Barrett in recent weeks and has complained in the media about the marginalisation of the independent members of the board who were elected through non-footballing channels.

While there are certainly questions to be answered from the FAI, McDonnell questioned those asking them.

"It's very hard to take seriously the claims of people who have suddenly found their voice having said nothing - absolutely nothing - for 16 years and particularly the last 10 years."

MacSharry has been involved in politics since 2002 and was first elected to the Dail in 2016.

"There have been attempts to consistently undermine the concerns of myself and others by suggesting I wish to promote or protect the old guard and open the door for their return," MacSharry wrote in the Independent.

"This is absolutely not the case. I despise the abuse of the previous regime and all the financial and reputational damage it has caused Irish football. It should be acknowledged, though, that previous board members, council members, employees and volunteers who raised questions in the past were marginalised."

McDonnell countered these sentiments and queried why they were not forthcoming throughout Delaney's reign at the FAI.

"The suggestion that these board members who were asking questions - I don't know who is briefing Marc MacSharry but they are presenting an alternative version of history," McDonnell said.

The boardroom at the FAI has been rife with an internal dispute in recent weeks.

Since the introduction of the independent board members, some have questioned the propriety of non-footballing bodies making important decisions on the Irish game.


The argument has been framed largely in terms of an old guard against a new guard. McDonnell is concerned that the broader conversation around the best model of governing football is being lost in translation.

It is seen as "a last attempt by the old guard to preserve their old positions rather than a broader debate on what we should do," he said.

In most instances, you may think someone with expertise should be in senior positions in any organisation.

In the case of the FAI however that is very much up for debate, and while parts of the so-called old guard argue for this to materialise it is wise to proceed with caution, and McDonnell made that point on Sunday.

"We could have the people elected through our own channels who should have the greater say, that should always be the way but the problem is and I think from the public's perception and the government have backed this up."

"There is a view that you've had your chance, you didn't do a very good job. For years there was a system there which proved that the system of populating the FAI board with people coming through constituencies didn't work."

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FAI Gary Owens Irish Football Marc Macsharry Niall Quinn Roy Barrett