Belfast Telegraph

IFA governance rules 'next summer'

New governance arrangements at the Irish Football Association (IFA) should be put in place next summer.

A review team headed by Timothy Quin is expected to complete its work around Easter, Stormont's sports committee heard.

Raymond Kennedy resigned as IFA president in October. He was criticised by an independent report into the unfair dismissal of chief executive Howard Wells, which cost the IFA £500,000.

The association's chief executive Patrick Nelson said: "We are business-like and we intend to be business-like for the future."

Sports minister Nelson McCausland asked for the review of governance arrangements. He is considering significant government funding for stadium redevelopment and plans for rugby and the Gaelic Athletic Association are also being considered.

New IFA president Jim Shaw said: "The IFA has had more change in the last five years than any other organisation in Northern Ireland. We would see this as the start of a continuous improvement process."

Mr Quin, a former Touche Ross NI chairman and partner in Deloitte Touche, will chair the review panel. He will be joined by George Cummings, current senior consultant for the Asian Football Confederation, and former senior civil servant David Watkins.

SDLP deputy committee chairman Declan O'Loan said: "There is an opportunity for a new dawn, that is what all of us are seeking. There has been a great need for change at the top of the IFA, that has been very long delayed."

Officials from the IFA were questioned about the redevelopment of Windsor Park. Sinn Fein MLA Billy Leonard said there was a perception other clubs were losing out on funding while Linfield was benefiting.

The IFA said the intention was that a new national stadium would be firmly in the control of the IFA and leased to Linfield football club. Mr Nelson said: "We are about football for all, we are not about football for one part of society. Football is still probably the sport played by most young people."

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