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Government "have a duty" to help solve FAI crisis - Bray chairman

The Government must take a more active role in solving the current crisis engulfing the FAI and I...



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Government "have a duty" to help solve FAI crisis - Bray chairman

The Government must take a more active role in solving the current crisis engulfing the FAI and Irish football - that's according to Bray Wanderers chairman, Niall O'Driscoll. 

In a festive address, O'Driscoll says, "Football has a place in Irish society with all the benefits to children, volunteers, players and all other stakeholders etc and this MUST be protected"

This week saw tit-for-tat statements from the Government and FAI after Minister for Sport Shane Ross told the Oireachtas Joint Committee for Transport, Tourism and Sport that he had turned down a request for an €18m "bailout" from the FAI.

The very future of the League of Ireland has been cast in doubt due to the FAI's financial issues, and Minister Ross has sought a meeting with club representatives in advance of a January meeting with European football's governing body, UEFA.

But O'Driscoll's statement calls into question the usefulness of such a meeting, saying "Having meetings on issues we already know about (on inactions and failures) is a waste of time.

O'Driscoll's festive address in full reads:

We have all watched this week's debate around Irish football and activities with a keen interest and deep sadness. 

Yes - It is wrong what has gone on in Irish football and hopefully those accountable will be held to task in all quarters. 

Yes - Football has a place in Irish society with all the benefits to children, volunteers, players and all other stakeholders etc. and this MUST be protected. 

Yes - The Government and elected officials have a duty to help solve this problem with the people who are trying to help within and on the outside. 

Yes - The majority fo agencies, regulators, Government and key stakeholders knew that there were issues but failed to act over the years - we need to stop pretending that we thought it was always great!

The time is over for political gamesmanship - everyone has failed - auditors, regulators, self-interested parties, Government - it is about time we started to fix the issues. 

We can only control the present and the future and learn from the past, so I respectfully suggest that we put our energies into solutions - now! Having meetings on issues we already know about (on inactions and failures) is a waste of time. 

We owe this to every club and volunteer, like myself who has volunteered for over 40 years. This is about people. I wonder what our children will say when we have spent more on animals, gambling etc. rather than on them - our future. 

We all know the potential consequences. Don't deprive us of international football for all ages and abilities, our clubs of European football, our communities of clubs or our children's dreams in the clubs they play for. 

We ask everyone to stand up and fight for this game - now! 

I ask Santa next week for one present - that everyone in the game comes together now and helps and supports our game for the greater cause not just their own interests. 

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Bray Bray Wanderers FAI Joint Committee League Of Ireland Minister For Sport Niall O'Driscoll Oireachtas SSE Airtricity First Division Shane Ross

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