Monday 16 December 2019

'UEFA chief told me that Mooney had been picked by the FAI', says minister

Shane Ross and Stephanie Roche
Shane Ross and Stephanie Roche

Sports Minister Shane Ross has moved to clarify that the appointment of Noel Mooney as the FAI's interim boss was made by Abbotstown bosses - not UEFA.

Mr Mooney is due to start his six-month secondment to Ireland on Monday, and his appointment has been criticised by Mr Ross because of his status as a former FAI employee.

UEFA has taken a central role in the affairs of the crisis-ridden FAI as it deals with six ongoing reviews and the associated financial problems.


Mr Mooney's arrival was part of the process, but Mr Ross has moved to tackle any perception that European football authorities had picked him for the job.

He says a discussion with UEFA president Aleksandar Ceferin made it clear to him the FAI had specifically asked for Mr Mooney.

In the statement announcing his arrival, the FAI said UEFA had responded to a "request for support".

"I spoke to him [Ceferin] on the telephone last week, on a very bad line to Baku," said Mr Ross yesterday. "It was a very short conversation. And what he said was that, yes, the FAI had picked Noel Mooney.

"The line was so bad that we had to abandon the conversation. I'm hoping to talk to him on Monday.

"It was certainly clarified at our meeting with the FAI as well, that it was the FAI who made that decision.

"The reason I made contact with Ceferin was to find out exactly what was going on, and what the truth of the matter was.

"I wanted to find out who made the appointment and where the initiative came from.

"They were obviously prepared to release him, but they made it absolutely clear that it was the FAI that made the appointment."


Mr Ross suggested State funding will remain frozen until the Government is satisfied with corporate governance structures in Abbotstown.

A stakeholders' forum convened in Dublin was attended by a range of people across Irish football, including current FAI staff and board members.

Mr Ross repeated his belief that the FAI should think again.

"The appointment of Noel Mooney doesn't seem to us to be consistent with the drive for reform and new independent faces," he said.

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