Olympic Federation president calls for crisis committee for FAI

Sarah Keane says a crisis management committee would give the FAI some time

The president of the Olympic Federation of Ireland, Sarah Keane has suggested that a crisis management committee should be formed to address the crisis in the FAI.

Sports governance is very complex, she told RTÉ radio's Today with Séan O'Rourke show on Friday.

“I’m not in the inner circle, but what I’m hearing is grim.”

Setting up a crisis management committee would give the FAI time to look into the situation, she said.


“Boards are strategic entities, it is very challenging.”

Ms Keane explained that in the case of the Olympic Council in Ireland the members of its crisis management committee were people in full-time jobs who were trying to manage the situation.

The FAI could be facing really serious consequences such as examinership or liquidation, she pointed out.

Six of the seven new directors of the FAI were in full-time positions elsewhere “they are coming in to try to fix it. They are volunteers doing it because they love the sport.”

The financial and governance crisis at the association deepened this week after Minister for Sport Shane Ross rejected a request it made for up to €18 million in financial assistance.

A row broke out between the two later in the week after Mr Ross disclosed the figure at the Oireachtas sport committee, prompting the FAI to suggest he was endangering reform efforts aimed at securing the future of the organisation.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) on Thursday said it had no interest in buying the FAI's stake in the Aviva Stadium, which the two sporting organisations jointly own.

When asked if she would take a role in assisting in the reform of the FAI, Ms Keane said she thought she had some skills that would be of value.

The Government does not want to “overly interfere” with the situation in the FAI, she said. “It is a fine line they’re trying to walk.”

The difficulty facing the six new FAI directors was that even if they wanted to introduce reforms, they were not in control. In her opinion the FAI “should be on the plane to meet EUFA, not waiting for them to come here.”

Ms Keane said there were two sides to the story and the Minister for Sport and the FAI needed to find a way out of the “stand-off”.

“If a lot of people want to make this work, it could work.

“I feel for the volunteers, the six new people need to be supported. People are incredibly hurt by what happened.”

Ms Keane added: “governance is a journey, not a destination.”