Further job losses looming as FAI feel pinch
FURTHER JOB losses are looming at the FAI after some staff members were told this week their futures were at risk.
The association’s financial ills were laid bare at last weekend’s agm in Donegal with the admission by chief executive John Delaney that only the interest was currently being serviced on the bank loan of €50 million relating to the cost of redeveloping Lansdowne Road.
Those annual charges alone amounted to €4.8 million in the latest published accounts for 2011, raising questions about Delaney’s stated target of clearing the debt by 2020.
In the wake of his own voluntary 10 per cent pay cut which reduced his salary to €360,000, Delaney spoke of further cost-cutting measures to deal with the worsening financial picture and that action had been swift.
All staff members received an email on Tuesday morning warning of an adverse impact from lower ticketing prices and a number of employees from the technical department, believed to be seven, were summoned to meetings the following day.
They were informed that certain roles were to be amalgamated and those unsuccessful at the upcoming interview stage would be made redundant.
A similar restructuring two weeks ago led to child protection officer Michael Lynam losing his job.
Other staff recently relieved of their duties includes the Republic of Ireland under-17 women’s team manager, Harry Kenny, as well as former senior team boss Eoin Hand, who held the post of player support services manager.
Alan Byrne, team doctor with the senior international squad for the past decade, yesterday informed staff of his intention to end his six-year stay as the FAI medical director from next week.
In tandem, it emerged the manager of the Ireland boys’ under-16 and under-17 teams, John Morling, is leaving the association to assume the role of academy manager at English Championship club Brighton.
While Morling has refused to comment on his departure, it is understood the substantial cutbacks to the emerging talent coaching programme for elite talent, which he also oversees, influenced his decision.
The FAI had aimed to fund their €72 million portion of redeveloping the national stadium by selling 10-year premium tickets to the corporate sector but their vantage club scheme flopped spectacularly, leaving them reliant on borrowings.
Such has been their problems in offloading the stock of 10,000 tickets over the past three years that those who have purchased were recently offered the option of obtaining another ticket free of charge.
Meanwhile, Giovanni Trapattoni is prepared to excuse Richard Dunne and other senior players from friendly matches during the upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign should it convince them to delay their international retirement.
The Republic of Ireland manager has already opted to leave Dunne, Shay Given, Damien Duff and Robbie Keane out of his squad for next month’s warm-up game in Serbia and may call upon the quartet for just competitive matches which start on September 7th with an away game in Kazakhstan.
Dunne is considering his international future and has asked Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert for advice.
Dunne was part of the Republic’s Euro 2012 campaign in which they failed to qualify from their group for the knockout stages in Poland and Ukraine.
Now the Villa centre back admits he has a hard decision to make in the next few weeks. When asked if he had considered retiring, Dunne said: “Yes, it has crossed my mind a few times. It’s easy after a tournament, the way it has gone, to make a rash decision and say ‘that’s it’.
“But I just have to think about things. I was basically waiting to get back into training with Villa and then have a think, see how I feel.
“It’s a hard decision, because it (playing for Ireland) is something I love doing, and I had a chat with Paul Lambert about it and asked him about it.
“He said it has to be down to me because if I’m not happy with the decision and I regret it, then it’s no good.
“I’ve already spent four weeks thinking about it and still can’t decide.”
Given, Duff and Keane are also thought to be considering their Ireland careers.
The Italian hinted that Given is now behind Kieran Westwood in the international pecking order when naming his squad last week, suggesting the Sunderland goalkeeper was in line to start against Kazakhstan.