Former Ireland striker Niall Quinn appointed interim deputy CEO of the FAI

Thu, Jan 23 2020

Quinn in action for Ireland during a fundraising game for Liverpool fan Sean Cox at the Aviva Stadium last year. Credit: Brian F Smyth (ETPhotos)

The FAI has confirmed that former Ireland international Niall Quinn has been appointed FAI interim deputy CEO.

Quinn had been tentatively linked with a role in the association recently but had ruled himself out of the running for the chief executive role earlier this month. That has been filled on an interim basis by Gary Owens.

The ex-Arsenal striker Quinn has experience in a sports administration capacity, he is a former board member of Sports Ireland and from 2006 to 2011 was chairman of Sunderland, where he oversaw promotion to and relative success in the Premier League.

The appointments of Quinn and Owens come off the back of the well-documented financial problems the FAI have, which led to former chief executive John Delaney leaving his position in September 2019.

It seems that Quinn’s role will be largely focused on developing the domestic game with an eye on the League of Ireland.

“In addressing the current challenges facing the FAI, the executive team want to ensure that the organization’s core objective of the promotion and development of the game of football in Ireland is prioritised,”an FAI statement explained.

“Niall’s role with the team will focus on leading a future League of Ireland strategy, the overall development of the game in Ireland, including supporting grassroots and community initiatives together with our player pathway programmes.

“Niall will also focus on helping restoring and building key relationships and trust with key peer groups and the media.”

Owens added: “We are really pleased that someone of Niall’s caliber is joining the team. Football is such an important game in this country at every level.

“Niall not only brings great insight and experience to developing the game but is passionate about football in Ireland.

“His energy and commitment is a great fit for the FAI as we begin reform of the organization and look to create a better future for football in Ireland.”

Minister for Transport, Tourism, and Sport, Shane Ross, and the Minister of State with responsibility for Sport, Brendan Griffin were also quick to welcome today's new appointment.

Previously the FAI had requested financial support from the government to the tune of €18 million. This had been rejected due to the perceived unsatisfactory nature of reform.

Their comments today will hopefully highlight the start of the rebuilding process.

Minister Ross said “It is great news for Irish football” and that “his passion for fair play, his independence and his integrity are widely known and admired.”

He added: “His experience and skills will be invaluable as part of the management team to lead the reform that is so necessary within the FAI”

While Minister Griffin said: “Niall’s experience and his determination to see a better future for Irish football makes him an excellent choice as interim Deputy CEO.”

Quinn will also link up with recently appointed FAI chairperson Roy Barrett. Barrett and Quinn had been part of the Visionary Group that had looked to reform the league.