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'Outside forces' will own the FAI

Morton: Battle for heart and soul of Irish football

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A member of the FAI's Senior Council has written to UEFA and FIFA to warn that a "titanic battle for the heart and soul of football in our country" is imminent. (stock photo)

A member of the FAI's Senior Council has written to UEFA and FIFA to warn that a "titanic battle for the heart and soul of football in our country" is imminent. (stock photo)

A member of the FAI's Senior Council has written to UEFA and FIFA to warn that a "titanic battle for the heart and soul of football in our country" is imminent. (stock photo)

A member of the FAI's Senior Council has written to UEFA and FIFA to warn that a "titanic battle for the heart and soul of football in our country" is imminent.

He claims the interim FAI Board's rescue deal with government will result in a "loss of sovereignty" that is "unique amongst the 211 FIFA nations."

The claims are made in a submission by Nixon Morton, a member of the FAI Schools National Executive, who wrote to world and European governing bodies to say that "a number of my Senior Council colleagues and other members across football . . . are very concerned by what is happening to the game in Ireland under the stewardship of the existing Interim Board."

It is argued that "outside forces" will have "ownership" of the game. His central complaint arises from the events of January, when the new FAI power-brokers, led by independent chair Roy Barrett, agreed a rescue deal with government, UEFA and the banks to keep Irish football afloat.

The Memorandum of Understanding stipulated changes to the terms of the governance reforms voted through by FAI delegates last year in the aftermath of the end of the John Delaney years.

It included an increase in the number of independent directors on the FAI board from four to six, and a clause that FAI Council members who have served for ten years or more should step down.

Morton asserts that "we are faced with a titanic battle for the heart and soul of football in our country" and that "We do see the need for change, but do not think it is necessary to cede ownership of the game of football to outside interests".

This paper contacted Morton to seek clarity on how many people he is representing given that his submission is peppered with references to "We." An FAI spokesman said: "The Board of the FAI is aware of the letter and has no comment to make."