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Monday 14 October 2019

Conway may step back from board as FAI consider options

Donal Conway
Donal Conway

The FAI appear to be willing to step back from the brink in their stand-off with the Minister for Sport and Sport Ireland as Donal Conway says he will consider not standing for office at next week's AGM.

But the embattled association have again stressed the importance of having their reform process accepted by delegates at an EGM tomorrow, Conway insisting that if the reform proposals are rejected their 'Plan B' is to carry on work under the existing rules and structures.

"If we don't adopt new rules, our old rules dictate what we can do," he warned.

Conway added that bringing in FIFA to take control of the FAI under a "normalisation process", as happened with the Pakistan FA last month, would be a "disaster" for the association.

Sport Ireland said they were "disappointed" to be told at a meeting with the FAI on Friday that Conway would go forward, unopposed, for election at their AGM, claiming that was breaking his promise from April that the entire board would step down.

Issued

Shane Ross issued a strongly worded letter to Conway on Monday, calling on him to withdraw his candidacy for the president's role and to allow a complete clearout of the current board.

That was backed up by politicians at a joint Oireachtas committee meeting in midweek where committee chair Fergus O'Dowd TD called for a "clean sweep".

Conway's unopposed re-election risked a stand-off between the FAI and two of their key partners, frustration voiced by Kerry League official John O'Regan on Wednesday night when he said: "there is nobody involved in football at grassroots level, or any level, that agree with what Shane Ross is doing".

Conway admitted there was frustration but said that him going forward again was not guaranteed.

"Our board has to consider all the facts from Wednesday, you can't just disregard what has been said," Conway said of that negative feedback from the Oireachtas hearing.

Elected

"I said at the press conference that I was elected for a four-year term but since March there is no such thing as a four-year term, that's gone. So my term as president was going to end in July, and it may still.

"The intention of the board was that everyone would stand down at the AGM and that was absolutely my intention but the members of the association and the recommendations of this report talked about continuity.

"People have asked me for the last few months what my motivation was considering a role on the interim board. It's simply being pragmatic, there is an awful lot going on in the FAI, two serious investigations, I have been centrally involved across all of them for the last few months so it's a case of what is the most pragmatic thing to do.

"I was never going to be a four-year president, that has long gone since this all started because I am culpable, having been a member of the board for a long time.

Immediate

"In the immediate crisis we could have stood away, we have worked through that crisis and considered whether one or two members could bring value to an interim board for the next 12 months. But all factors will be taken into consideration, what's the best thing for the association."

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