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UEFA and government to ‘share the pain’ on FAI reform | Shane Ross

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

04:24 20 Jan 2020

Shane Ross believes that UEFA and the government will have to ‘share the pain’ of the expense in reforming the FAI.

Minister Ross was speaking as an update to the meetings that took place with UEFA general secretary Theodore Theodoridis on the future of Irish football last week.

Ross confirmed that the next steps will be for the new independent chairman of the FAI Roy Barrett to come back with proposals to ‘save Irish football.’

FAI reform

“Roy Barrett has been in attendance at all of these meetings and is going to come back to us with proposals in the next week,” said Ross.

“These will be as a result of what he has heard from everybody, and [with] various proposals that he hopes will save Irish football.”

Asked whether these proposals would involve a government bailout, payments from UEFA or a composite of the two, Ross said that it is likely that the two organisations will have to ‘share the pain.’

Ross also confirmed that there was no likelihood of the Euro 2020 matches in Dublin being cancelled or moved in light of recent developments with the governing organisation.

As to how the financial burden would be shared between the government and the European football administrators, Ross was keen to impress that the situation was now with Barrett and the FAI.

New direction

Ross also said the meetings had an ‘incredible’ impact on the relationship between the government and FAI, who are under new direction.

“Once the independent directors were there – and they are there, thank god – we recognised that it was a new situation and we wanted to be part of the solution rather than being at loggerheads with the old FAI.”

Ross confirmed that the government are in no position to influence the FAI in their choices for council, and called the appointment of ex-board member John Early’s move to the High Performance Committee ‘unusual’.

“We want to see a new dawn at the FAI, and the culture of the old guard is removed.”

Treacy on funding

Meanwhile, Sport Ireland's Chief Executive John Treacy confirmed that 50% of the funding to the FAI has been withheld as part of the pressure on the association to reform.

"We are working very closely with the Department and the Minister, and are privy to the developments that are going on," said Treacy.

"We are hopeful."

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