On Thursday, just 2 weeks after ruling himself out of becoming the CEO of the FAI, former Republic of Ireland international and legend Niall Quinn was appointed the interim deputy CEO of the Football Association of Ireland. The appointment of Niall Quinn didn’t come as a surprise to many people as there have been many rumours of him getting a job in the FAI after he spoke out on a number of occasions following the crisis and all the disappointing news that has come out of the FAI in the last year.
Quinn knows the FAI and the team well as he has represented the national team 92 times, scoring 21 goals. This makes him the 2nd all time top goal scorer for The Boys in Green.
How will he help the FAI?
Firstly, he has said that if he gets paid, it will only be a fraction of what the old ‘gang’ were; the likes of John Delaney and Donal Conway for example. He has stated that he will see how the progress of the association goes before he will takes a salary. This will no doubt help the money issues in the FAI and not raise the debts too much higher.
Quinn has been trying to promote the League of Ireland and grassroots football in Ireland over the past year and he has wrote up his own blueprint for the future of the FAI and League of Ireland. He has now joined newly appointed members of the FAI; Gary Owens, interim CEO of the FAI as well as Roy Barrett who was appointed independent chair of the association.
Quinn said he is looking forward to working with them in attempting to fix the FAI and that his role is to focus on the football side of the association. Gary Owens’ role shall be governance and administration and Roy Barrett will overlook funding. The association is in need of an injection of around 18 million euros to settle short term debts, Barrett has since secured funding from the government, UEFA, and it’s principal creditor; Bank of Ireland.
Quinn’s Hopes and Visions for The Future of Irish Football
Quinn announced his visions and hopes for the future of Irish football last May.
His main objectives are as listed below.
1. A new governance structure in the FAI by the end of 2019.
2. Increase participation in soccer of boys, girls, men and women by around 7% each year.
3. Have a viable & profitable League of Ireland by 2026.
4. Get one League of Ireland team to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League by 2027.
5. Qualify for the FIFA World Cup by 2026 and the UEFA European championships by 2028.
6. Qualify for the Women’s FIFA World Cup by 2027.
7. Win an underage European championship by 2032.
8. Have the men’s international team reach the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup by 2038.
Even though these seem highly unlikely at the moment, they are definitely interesting proposals and something for Irish football fans to be excited about, for sure!
Let’s hope Niall Quinn is as good as he was on the pitch when it comes to making the right decisions for the future of the FAI and Irish football. Quinn already looks like he might be the right man for the new role in the FAI as he is optimistic about the future of Irish football. So lets think of the positive side of things and hope that Niall Quinn can be the saviour the FAI!