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FAI board member John Earley resigns 'in the best interests of Irish football'

The move comes just under a week after the FAI president announced that he is stepping down.

John Earley
John Earley
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

A SENIOR MEMBER of the Football Association of Ireland’s board has resigned tonight with immediate effect. 

In a letter to the FAI president, John Earley said that he had made the decision ‘in the best interests of Irish football’. 

The announcement was tweeted from the main FAI Twitter account at 10.10pm. 

The move comes just under a week after FAI president Donal Conway said that he will step down in January. 

Both men had served under the leadership of John Delaney and had come under pressure to stand aside from their roles. Sports Minister Shane Ross has said that the “old guard” at the FAI “needs to be removed in total”. 

Earley is the chair of the Schoolboys Football Association of Ireland (SFAI). He had previously served as chair of the FAI Underage Committee but resigned from the role, and from the FAI board, in June.

However he was returned to the board the following month at the FAI AGM in July. 

The government said today that it will “look at” a proposal to split the FAI into two governing bodies. 

Members of the FAI have devised a proposal to split the organisation into two sections – one governing body with fewer responsibilities and another body looking after the grassroots, community and development side, the Irish Independent first reported. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, Minister for Sport Shane Ross said the government will “look at any suggestion” that comes forward.

“What we are doing at the moment is we are looking after the 2.9 million [euro] which we have been giving to the FAI,” Ross said. 

“We have withdrawn that funding and what we’re going to do there is we’re going to ensure that gets to the small clubs, we’re going to absolutely ensure that gets to the players, to the grassroots, but doesn’t go near the FAI.

We want to protect taxpayer’s funding and we also want to protect the grassroots. They’re the important people. We’re interested in football, not so interested in the FAI. 

 Additional reporting by Orla Dwyer

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Christine Bohan

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