FAI to speak with Stephen Kenny following board meeting

Ireland manager is expected to be given, at the least, a short contract extension

Stephen Kenny says his Ireland team are aiming to win their Nations League group next year. Photo: Ben Brady/Inpho

Stephen Kenny says his Ireland team are aiming to win their Nations League group next year. Photo: Ben Brady/Inpho

 

The FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill is to provide “positive, detailed and confidential” feedback to Stephen Kenny’s senior Ireland management team after the association’s 12-person board met Monday night.

Kenny’s contract as Republic of Ireland manager runs until July 2022, and following a third place finish in the World Cup qualifying group behind Serbia and Portugal, when he blooded an unprecedented 16 players, an extension could take the 50-year-old up until the 2024 European Championships in Germany.

The alternative offer, floated recently by Liam Brady on television, is to grant Kenny an extension until October 2022, that only includes next year’s six-match Nations League and two friendlies in March.

“The Football Association of Ireland can confirm that board members undertook positive and detailed discussions around a review of the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualification tournament in its entirety at its scheduled monthly meeting in Dublin this evening,” read the FAI statement released on Tuesday night. “CEO Jonathan Hill will now provide feedback to the Republic of Ireland men’s senior team management accordingly and will move the process forward. As with all employee matters, this process will remain confidential.

“The FAI will be making no further comment on this matter until it is appropriate.”

Last month Kenny revealed, in the aftermath of defeating Qatar 4-0, that plans were well advanced to win next year’s Nations League B which would secure a playoff for Germany 2024.

“In all seriousness, when personally marking out the medium to long term strategy for the team, one of the things we looked at was the Uefa Nations League starting in June,” said Kenny.

“Our ambition is to win the group. We’ll be taking it extremely seriously by prioritising it. That would give us a Euro play-off regardless of how we do in the group.”

Whatever feedback Kenny receives from Hill, any negotiations are expected to be conducted by Kenny’s agent Eamon McLoughlin, with a response due long before the manager is due in Montreux, Switzerland for the Nations League draw on December 16th.

The FAI did confirm the appointment of former World Rugby and Formula 1 commercial consultant Murray Barnett to review the marketing and communication departments.

“Murray’s diverse experience with a number of top rights holders will be crucial in helping us to meet our strategic goals,” said Hill. “He brings unique insight and will be invaluable in developing our marketing and communications approach. I look forward to working with Murray and wish him well in this role.”

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