FAI CEO post left vacant as John Foley turns down role

Management saga at organisation took another twist on Monday with unexpected decision

John Foley has declined the role of interim CEO of the FAI. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

John Foley has declined the role of interim CEO of the FAI. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

John Foley has declined to take up the role of FAI interim CEO at the last minute, stating that he felt he didn’t have enough support in the organisation.

The news signals the latest twist in the FAI’s management crisis with the CEO position now seemingly vacant after Noel Mooney, who has been in the role on an interim basis, finished up over the weekend.

The expectation was that Foley, a former chief executive of Athletics Ireland, would fill the role on a temporary basis for what is set to be a crucial few weeks for the FAI as accounts are presented 21 days ahead of the deferred AGM which it is hoped will go ahead on December 28th.

Those accounts will indicate the figures behind the financial settlement made to former CEO John Delaney who resigned from the FAI in September.

Foley had been in the organisation during the last week and was expected to start work on Monday after a handover process with Mooney had been completed. The hope was that he could progress the issue of the restoration of public funding after it was cut by Minister for Sport Shane Ross last April.

The decision last week by Sport Ireland to refer the Kosi report to the Garda was clearly not seen as being helpful on that front but with the report understood to have cleared the organisation of the misuse of government money previously handed over, there has been a softening of attitudes on the political front with suggestions that particular grants might be allocated if a suitable mechanism, possibly through the use of a third party, can be found.

However, the latest news of Foley’s decision not to take up the role brings more uncertainty on all fronts.

Foley said: “I was approached by the FAI and was pleased to consider bringing my experience in business and sport to the Association for a short period as interim CEO while a permanent CEO is being recruited,” he said in a statement issued to RTE.

“I had a number of meetings and discussions with FAI representatives over the past number of weeks and was happy to help the organisation face the challenges ahead.

“I believe there will be a need for leadership particularly for the staff in what will be a challenging time for all. The most critical issues for the Association over the coming months will be strong leadership, organisational change and financial stability.

“I also know that the FAI has a wide range of key stakeholders who contribute to the running of the game and the financial well-being of the Association and that the full,support of these stakeholders is vital.

“Ultimately, it was not clear that the support for my appointment across key stakeholders was at the level required for me to succeed on delivering on the huge challenges to be faced by the Association in the coming months.

“Therefore I have decided not to take up the role of interim CEO. I wish the staff, board, volunteers and players at all levels every best wish for the future.”

The FAI released a statement on Monday morning confirming Foley’s decision not to take up the role and said that they felt he was well suited to the role.

“The Board of the FAI notes with great regret John Foley’s decision not to accept the role of Interim CEO with the Football Association of Ireland,” the statement read.

“Throughout our dealings with John, his suitability for the role was beyond question and the level of professionalism and clarity he could bring to the Association would have been invaluable.”

The statement made no indication of how the organisation would now act given that the CEO role is seemingly vacant after Mooney returned to his post at Uefa.

“John’s experience and influence will be especially missed by our staff who would have benefitted greatly from his arrival.

“The Board of the FAI will meet to discuss the next steps.”

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