Roy Barrett takes on ‘formidable challenge’ with new FAI role

Roy Barrett, managing director at Goodbody Stockbrokers, has been unveiled by the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) as the board’s new independent chairperson. 

Barrett is now set to take over as the chair of the board when current president Donal Conway stands down on 25 January, with FAI board members hopeful that Barrett’s pedigree aids in rescue package discussions with the Government.

Following his appointment, Barrett discussed his belief that the association had an important role to play in developing the Irish game. He stated: “There is a serious job of work to be done to address the very significant failures which have beset the organisation in terms of its governance and its finances. The new Board will now deal with this task with urgency, working collaboratively with its stakeholders.”

The FAI also announced that Catherine Guy and Liz Joyce would also be joining its board as independent directors whilst also confirming that another addition was set to be announced in the coming weeks.

Shane Ross, Minister for Sport, added: “I’m very pleased to welcome Roy Barrett, Catherine Guy and Liz Joyce and to thank them as well for taking on what is going to be an extremely formidable task. It certainly does seem that at this stage we are going to enter into a new chapter in what has been a disastrous story. I am looking forward to a fresh, constructive dialogue opening between the new FAI and the government. 

“They are taking on an association with a debt of €60m, they’re taking on a formidable challenge but we think that their advent, which has been sought for a very long time and which has been resisted by the FAI for a very long time, will mean that those who are creditors and stakeholders will take great encouragement.

“I am hopeful that all stakeholders will now be able to pursue a common goal of root and branch reform, of changing the culture of the FAI and ensuring that grass roots football, players, staff and volunteers are all protected.”

Ross, along with a delegation representing the department of sport, is now reportedly set to meet UEFA officials next week where an attempt will be made to find a resolution to the current predicament of the association. 

As well as his pedigree, the new independant chair is also a close associate of ex-Ireland international Niall Quinn which has seemingly opened up the possibility of the former Sunderland striker joining the FAI in the future.

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