herald

Monday 16 December 2019

Mooney 'ashamed' of what has happened at the FAI

Noel Mooney. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Noel Mooney. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Noel Mooney, the interim head of the FAI, says he's "ashamed" of what has happened at the FAI in the last three months.

And he claims that his past relationship with the association, as an employee, should not prevent him from taking on his six-month contract with the embattled body.

The Limerick native, on secondment to the FAI from his full-time role with UEFA, says he understands why supporters sing anti-FAI songs at matches, even joking: "I often sing the song myself when I can."

Mooney also said that he noted the "staleness" in the organisation, resulting from former CEO John Delaney remaining in his post for 15 years.

He has returned to the FAI in a newly created position of General Manager for Football Services and Partnerships, beginning his work as the effective CEO at the FAI on June 3.

"I fully understand and I often sing it at matches myself when I can," Mooney said of those anti-FAI chants when he spoke at the FAI's official League of Ireland podcast in Dublin's Sugar Club last night. "I understand because what's happened over the last few months, I am angry. I am disappointed and ashamed at how our beautiful game has gone. What has happened has put Irish soccer into a difficult spot.

"When we don't do what we should do, we should be ashamed, it's right that people should talk about it, but it's our responsibility to make football the best it can be.

"My eyes are open to staleness, we had a CEO who was there for 15 years and it's hard to keep that motivation for such a long time and there are areas where we need to be refreshed."

Mooney's past relationship with the FAI, and the support he voiced for Delaney only two years ago, has led to criticism of his position, with calls for Mooney to step down, including from Minister for Sport Shane Ross.

"As I worked there a few years ago, it's seen, or said, that I should not have a voice.

"I saw things I wanted to change and it's sad that people don't want you to go back and change them, I hope to be one small part of the solution," he said.

"We will build relations with the Government, maybe not in my lifetime, but we will do it."

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