John Fallon reports from CityWest Hotel
SPORTS MINISTER SHANE Ross has warned that liquidation or examinership of the Football Association of Ireland are not viable options.
Ross claimed he flatly rejected a plea for an €18m bailout by the new FAI interim board but the association’s executive lead Paul Cooke revealed that a second meeting proved more fruitful.
Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.
Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO
Cooke, also the FAI vice-president, admitted after today’s reconvened Annual General Meeting that a rescue package hinges on a positive outcome from “roundtable” negotiations between the government, the Bank of Ireland and Uefa.
Ross, who has been engaged in a war of words with the FAI over governance reforms, seemed to suggest he would back a survival deal.
He is due to meet with Uefa, who have been funding the FAI since the cash crisis kicked off in March, on 14 January.
“The government does not see either liquidation or examinership as a viable option for the Association or for Irish Football,” Ross said in a statement.
“Over the Christmas period Minister Brendan Griffin and I have been moving with other stakeholders to find a solution to the crisis that includes an acceleration in the pace of reform, the future of government funding, above all, a more secure outlook for FAI staff and certainty that grassroots football does not suffer.”
“A radical change in the FAI culture is essential to underpin other reforms. The long-awaited appointment of an independent chair and three other independent directors, expected in the very near future, should provide the necessary impetus for a new confidence in the reform process.
“In early January, Minister Griffin and I expect to meet Uefa, representatives of all League of Ireland clubs, spokespeople for the trade unions, directors of the FAI and other stakeholders in pursuit of a solution that avoids liquidation or examinership but secures the future of Irish football.”
State funding to the FAI remains suspended since April.
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