FAI saga takes another turn; World Rugby must act to stop Edinburgh precedent

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Michael Brophy on Eric Bloodaxe and Pat McCabe on Edwulf at a media day at Joseph O’Brien’s yard in Kilkenny yesterday. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Michael Brophy on Eric Bloodaxe and Pat McCabe on Edwulf at a media day at Joseph O’Brien’s yard in Kilkenny yesterday. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

The saga rumbles on. Yesterday morning’s news that John Foley would not be taking over the role of interim CEO of the FAI came as quite a surprise and sparked a day of news coming from the organisation with it later emerging that Foley had turned down the position after discussions with Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross who wants the organisation to be free of any connections to John Delaney. This political interference has caused significant frustration for the organisation and it is now expected that they will publish new financial results on Thursday which will also reveal the payoff agreed with John Delaney. The accounts are expected to lay bare the seriousness of the FAI’s financial plight which, according to the trade union Siptu, has morale among staff at an all-time low as rumours swirl that there could be up to 100 job losses. In news on the pitch (sort of) Lionel Messi was last night named the winner of the Ballon d’Or for a record sixth time while Megan Rapinoe won the women’s award.

On to rugby and Gerry Thornley writes this morning that World Rugby must act fast to stop a precedent being set after Edinburgh’s pad-holding exploits against Munster. On Friday night in Cork, as Munster were driving for a try, Edinburgh loosehead prop Pierre Schoeman lifted the padding from the bottom of the visitors’ left-hand upright in a move that seemed to confound both fans and the officials. “It would be surprising if Edinburgh supporters were especially proud of, or even enchanted by, the sight of two of their players doing this, or that supporters generally would like to see their team employing such a dastardly act,” he writes. This weekend the focus turns back to European matters and yesterday Leinster coach Felipe Contepomi spoke ahead of their clash with Northampton about the plate-spinning act in setting out teams for the Pro14 and the Champions Cup with big matches now coming in such quick succession. Ulster were also in media action yesterday ahead of their meeting with Harlequins. The province are the unbeaten leaders in Pool Three and are looking to maintain that strong record with the return this weekend of Iain Henderson and Jacob Stockdale.

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