Management jobs most under threat in FAI restructure plans

Where roles are not available in shake-up, ‘voluntary parting plans’ will be offered

The FAI are eager not the label the downsizing as redundancies. Photo: Inpho

The FAI are eager not the label the downsizing as redundancies. Photo: Inpho

 

Middle and senior management are the most vulnerable categories in the FAI’s restructuring plans to be unveiled to staff this week.

Plans have been afoot in recent months to redesign the organisational structure of the financially-hit organisation, with the board appointing Human Resources consultant Yvonne Clancy to oversee the strategy.

The FAI were already burdened by €63m of debts before Covid-19 halted the football calendar in March.

All staff have since been subject to pay deferrals, with high-earners taking the biggest hit on their salaries to the tune of 50per cent.

Interim CEO Gary Owens estimated that the loss could trigger a €10m deficit this year, though hopes have increased in recent days that partial attendances could return by the time of Stephen Kenny’s first home game against Finland in September.

Under the proposals, new teams of 10 will be supported by an executive assistant and personal assistant.

Employees will be invited to express an interest in roles within that new structure.

Where roles cannot be identified in the new structure or redeployment isn’t an option, “voluntary parting terms” will be offered to affected staff on an individual basis.

The FAI are eager to avoid labelling the downsizing as redundancy, in an effort to retain stability. Two years of salary will be the maximum pay-off for departing personnel.

Given low to middle income workers are guaranteed employment for at least 18 months under the terms of the €35m state bailout deal brokered in January, executives appear to be the most under threat. Around half of the 206 staff are assigned to the grassroots and technical departments.

Amid the shake-up, a company secretarial role is to be established under the new governance and operations functions, working within the Chief Operations Officer’s portfolio.

That post is at present filled by Rea Walshe, who spent three months last year as interim CEO when John Delaney was moved into a newly-created role, just before he was sent on gardening leave.

Walshe, alongside former director Niamh O’Donoghue, represented the FAI on the governance review group, whose 78 recommendations during an unprecedented bout of turmoil at the FAI were ratified into the rule book last July.

Key elements of those reforms were altered in the Memo of Understanding (MOU) co-signed by Sports Minister Shane Ross and new FAI chairman Roy Barrett in January to clinch the bailout package.

Handing ultimate power to independent directors and accelerating the exits of council members with 10 years’ experience have caused rancour among the FAI membership.

Last week, Fianna Fáil’s spokesman on sport, Marc MacSharry TD, confirmed these contentious components of the MOU would be reviewed if his party were involved in the new government.

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