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Government set to listen to pl...
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Government set to listen to plans to split FAI into two

The Government is to consider proposals to split the FAI into two, which would see funding for vital initiatives safeguarded.

A number of prominent football figures including Niall Quinn and Brian Kerr are believed to be a part of discussions around the establishment of a separate body that would be supported by the State to the tune of €10 million per annum to support grassroots, community and development funding.

As part of the plan, the FAI would cater for the international teams and elite level players, funded by commercial sponsorship.

At the moment, the Government is withholding funding of €2.9 million to the FAI, due to the corporate governance issues which have embroiled the Association.

The demand for increased funding, properly distributed, is against the backdrop of the FAI's current liabilities of at least €55 million.

There is Government support at a high level for other sports. The Horse and Greyhound fund receives over €80 million per annum from the state.

There is a precedent for such a move to channel funds directly.

In 1997, the Government ended the Olympic Council of Ireland's ability to distribute state funding.

Grant aid was subsequently distributed via the Irish Sports Council.

If proposals to split the FAI into separate functions gained steam, the role of the League of Ireland within that structure would have to be determined.

Also, any new world would have to be given the green light by UEFA and FIFA in order to ensure the smooth continuation of Irish teams' participation in international competitions.

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