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FAI's chosen one for top job decides at last minute not to take CEO role

The FAI has said that John Foley “would have been invaluable” to the association.

Former CEO of Athletics Ireland John Foley.
Former CEO of Athletics Ireland John Foley.
Image: INPHO

THE MAN DUE to become interim CEO of the Football Association of Ireland has decided not to take up the position, the sporting body has said this morning.

John Foley, a former CEO of Athletics Ireland, was expected to take up the position from today but instead has opted not to do so. 

“The board of the FAI notes with great regret John Foley’s decision not to accept the role of interim CEO with the Football Association of Ireland,” the FAI said in a statement this morning. 

Throughout our dealings with John, his suitability for the role was beyond question and the level of professionalism and clarity he could bring to the Association would have been invaluable. John’s experience and influence will be especially missed by our staff who would have benefitted greatly from his arrival.

“The board of the FAI will meet to discuss the next steps.”

Foley had been expected to take up the role after Noel Mooney’s six-month secondment to the FAI as interim general-manager ended on Saturday. 

Mooney is employed by Uefa, but moved to Dublin on a six-month secondment earlier this year to help the beleaguered FAI liaise with Uefa and begin to move on from the crisis that has engulfed them from March. 

Mooney previously has ruled out extending his stay with the FAI, hastening the need to find a replacement. 

Chief operating officer Rea Walshe took up the interim CEO role in March when John Delaney stepped into the executive vice-president role

Last week, Minister for Sport Shane Ross said the an independent report into the FAI has been referred to An Garda Síochána.

The report was commissioned by Sport Ireland in May of this year and sought to assess the FAI’s expenditure of all Sport Ireland funding and its fitness to handle public funds.

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport said that: “The ministers note media reports that John Foley has declined to accept an interim CEO role at the FAI.

“The ministers also acknowledge Mr Foley’s long service to Irish sport in various executive roles over recent years and his reputation for delivery.”

However, as has been previously stated repeatedly, Ministers Ross and Griffin believe the most urgent priority for the FAI should be the appointment of the four independent directors. Thereafter, it is important that the Board, under the leadership of the independent Chairperson, moves quickly to fill the CEO vacancy.

“To satisfy the concerns of all stakeholders, the new CEO should be completely independent of any present or previous involvement with the FAI.

The FAI’s reform agenda needs to be strongly led in a manner that allows normality to return to football in Ireland as quickly as possible. The restoration of government funding can only follow such reform.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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