FAI decides on a new approach


THE FAI senior council has taken the first tangible step towards streamlining its 75-year-old decision-making procedure, which even longstanding Merrion Square stalwart Des Casey last year described as "archaic".

At the council's meeting last Friday, it ratified the basic recommendations of the report by management consultant Ray Cuss, albeit an apparently modified version, entitled "Securing Winning Goals".

The central plank of Cuss's report was that the outmoded 51-man senior council would hand over its cumbersome decision-making structures to a smaller, more efficient board of management. As events transpired, the main bone of contention was how many should serve on that board.

Thus, at next June's a.g.m., a new 20-man board of management will be elected entirely by, and from within, the senior council, which, in turn, will henceforth assume a consultative and advisory role. Cass's report had recommended that the new decision-making board would consist of 12 people, which, in addition to the officers, would include the two nominees of the FAI president.

Without being noticeably radical, the resulting compromise - unanimously agreed last Friday night - was still heralded as a major step forward for the association by its chief executive, Bernard O'Byrne.

"I'm delighted with it . . . it is revolutionary and radical. The 51-man national council is still there, but it will be consultative and advisory. The business decisions will be taken by a board of management, which will perform as a board of directors, on a monthly basis," O'Byrne said.

Meanwhile, the FAI will gradually introduce the various sub-committees in the specialist areas recommended by Cuss, with the possible inclusion of expertise from beyond the confines of the senior council, after the a.g.m.

Cuss was employed in March of last year after the FAI crisis which resulted in the departure of former president Louis Kilcoyne and former treasurer and vice-president Joe Delaney.

Reacting to the latest development, Cuss commented: "I am delighted that the FAI has now accepted the need to update its decision-making structures.

He added: "The new board of management, the specialist sub-committees and new staffing arrangements at Merrion Square will all contribute to making the association much more effective and relevant to the needs of Irish football."