Uefa's Mooney takes up temporary role with beleaguered FAI
Uefa’s Noel Mooney will take up a temporary leadership role with the beleaguered Football Association of Ireland, which oversees soccer in the Republic of Ireland, after it requested support from European soccer’s governing body.
From 3 June, Mooney, who serves as head of national association business development at Uefa, will spend six months as the FAI’s general manager for football services and partnerships, before returning to his role with Uefa on 30 November.
He will initially “assess the FAI’s requirements and will co-ordinate future support and expertise in finance and other areas from Uefa and Fifa”, the FAI said.
Donal Conway, FAI president, said: "Uefa’s advice and support will be very important to the FAI as will Noel Mooney’s Uefa experience and knowledge. Noel Mooney will also play a key role in our engagements with all of our stakeholders as we deliver change for Irish football."
Rea Walshe, who was acting as interim chief executive following the recent resignation of John Delaney, will switch to chief operating officer and continue to lead the process of governance and reform, according to the FAI.
Delaney, the FAI’s controversial former chief executive, offered to step aside pending a probe into the governing body’s corporate governance and financial practices.
The spotlight has been on Delaney, currently FAI executive vice-president, since it emerged that he secretly lent the association €100,000 ($113,000) in April 2017 in what is now claimed was an attempt to cover a temporary shortage of funds.
Neither Delaney nor the FAI reported the loan, which did not appear in the governing body’s audited accounts for that period.
Last month, Shane Ross, the country’s sports minister, said the entire board of the FAI intends to step down to enable a restructuring to take place.
Mooney has now been placed in a temporary role as the FAI “builds for the future and continues to work in partnership with key stakeholders to achieve good governance.”
Mooney and Walshe will also not be members of the board under this new interim arrangement.
Mooney added: "Working with all of our stakeholders, I am confident Irish football will emerge stronger and better over the next few months as we listen to the voices of those who want the game to succeed and are determined to deliver the radical reform required for Irish football.
"In my time with Uefa I have led teams across Europe developing football in many countries. Returning home to help the FAI with its challenges is something I will embrace as we deliver change with our highly committed staff and all our leagues, clubs and partners."
Walshe recently told delegates at the FAI’s council meeting that sponsorship deals are being affected by the crisis within the organisation and that commercial partners have been impacted by “negative sentiment” arising from the its governance issues.
The FAI’s primary sponsors, Three, the UK telecoms company, and New Balance, the sportswear brand, are reportedly considering their options with their current deals with the soccer body due to expire next year.