By John Fallon
The post-mortem from the revelations of the FAI’s Black Friday should consume public discourse for a long time, but so should the new broom tasked with rectifying them.
With Donal Conway on his way out of the next month, and John Earley facing pressure to follow him through the exit door, a fresh set of directors will be around the boardroom table early in 2020.
The decision of the president to bow to pressure should remove the hesitancy preventing the four independent directors from completing the 12-person board.
Conway made his decision to quit earlier than intended this morning after meeting with the recruitment team headheading the quartet of external minds last night.
Both Conway and Earley pleaded ignorance when asked about Delaney’s ‘golden handcuffs’ deal. They claimed former colleagues Michael Cody and Eddie Murray failed to disclose that pertinent element when finalising a new contract in 2014.
“The two gentlemen returned telling us on the board there was no change in the salary,” Conway said.
I couldn’t ask about it if I wasn’t told.
Earley, admittedly on the board for 10 years less than Conway, offered his excuse: “If we had proper information, we could have maybe voiced a stronger opinion on it.”
It was the absence of such scrutiny — specifically requesting sight of all contracts — that rendered the pair who continued on the board after the AGM as sitting ducks.
Whether groupthink seeped into the boardroom or not, we’ve been assured by the latest directors of their refusal to take things on face value.
It doesn’t help that all six of the newcomers since the AGM in July have at some stage been part of an FAI council that, like the board, were prepared to sit on their hands while the Delaney era sailed Irish football into the abyss.
Now they’ve the opportunity of delivering real reform, even if the bulk of their initial work will be to ratify a wave of cutbacks to address sins of the past.
Paul Cooke, although operating as a stopgap CEO, will return to his position of vice-president and could vie to succeed Conway at an EGM on January 25.
Richard Shakespeare possesses crucial corporate experience from his role within Dublin City Council, as does fellow League of Ireland representative Martin Heraghty.
Dave Moran from the Leinster Senior League was the first to raise the alarm in March, surveying his clubs for a vote of confidence in the board. As they waited for the results, Delaney was placed on gardening leave and all the board vowed to quit.
John Finnegan is considered one of the new breed in the Munster Senior League and Joe O’Brien is part of a thriving colleges and universities sector.
Their main job is to ensure the chain of command is crystal clear.
“I only hope this is the last day of shame for the FAI,” sighed Niall Quinn.
At least they cannot be worse than the last administration.