Niall Quinn rules out FAI chief role but offers to help in recovery
Appointment of independent directors evidence FAI on right road again, says Quinn
Niall Quinn said he is open to a voluntary role with the FAI. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Niall Quinn will not be the FAI’s next chief executive, the former Republic of Ireland international has said, but he would be more than happy to play some part in the organisation’s recovery.
He said the tone of the organisation’s recently reconvened agm in Citywest, and the appointment this week of three independent directors, was firm evidence that the association is on the right road again.
The 53-year-old is close to Roy Barrett whose appointment to the role of chair of the association’s board on Wednesday night Mr Quinn described as “outstanding”. The managing director of stockbroking firm Goodbody had been a member of the group assembled by Mr Quinn last year with the intention of taking a role in the governance of the game here.
He said he believes that Mr Barrett and the other two directors appointed, Catherine Guy and Liz Joyce, “will bring skill sets to the association that it has missed”. Mr Barrett “is thoroughly qualified to do such a big job,” he said, but his own skill set is not ideally suited to overseeing the large-scale restructuring that is required at Abbotstown.
The Dubliner said he is open to a voluntary role, however, possibly working on the restoration of the association’s credibility with stakeholders like sponsors, the Government and its various affiliates.
“I got very disillusioned after Trim [the first part of the agm, held in July] and I thought maybe the governance review group hadn’t gone far enough,” he said, at Thursday’s launch of the new Virgin Media schedule. “But as things have transpired, the game itself appears to have attempted to cleanse itself.
“The mood [at the reconvened agm in Citywest two weeks ago] was one of ‘we’ve had enough of the old way’, and that was great. I think that was a relief to us all. And then to see Roy and two ladies come in . . . We’re still technically insolvent [but] it feels like it is a turning point. What can be achieved now can only be achieved through very hard work and very skilled organisational processes etc, but the right people are there now to do that.”
He said it felt as if the FAI had “got a chance now”.
“The hope would be in the first instance that maybe things will go well in this meeting [between Government and Uefa on Tuesday] next week and that will see jobs protected.”
Beyond that, he suggested, “a CEO that’s diligently working with his sleeves rolled up as opposed to talking about it, is where we need to go”.
“I have said that all along that I would love to help out but this doesn’t need what I can offer as a CEO.”
Mr Quinn suggested that the current crisis at the association has greatly added to the importance of the Irish team’s Euro play-off games in March.
“I just think a new government will be in situ by then and there’s nothing that demonstrates the importance of our team like the team doing well or qualifying for a tournament because you see then what it means to the country.”