Belfast Telegraph

Crucial vote gives IFA new lease of life

By Graham Luney

Irish FA Chief-Executive Patrick Nelson last night warmly welcomed a crucial vote he hopes will spark a new dawn for the association.

The football body has come under fierce criticism in the past, particularly after an independent report highlighted the unfair dismissal of then Chief Executive Howard Wells, which cost the IFA £500,000.

But at last night's EGM there was hope of a new beginning after members voted overwhelmingly to back proposals aimed at making the IFA fit for purpose in the eyes of the public and government.

There was some opposition, particularly from the Mid-Ulster League and North-West Association, but the alterations to articles of the association was carried 168 votes for, 32 against.

The football regulations focused on the make-up of committees and their roles was adopted with 168 votes in favour, one against.

Both regulations went through, leaving a new set-up of an elected 10-member Executive Board accountable to member clubs and divisional associations through an IFA Council watchdog.

League affairs, currently run by the IFA, will also fall into the hands of the leagues themselves.

IFA Chief-Executive Patrick Nelson welcomed the strong backing for the proposals emerging from the report of the Independent Governance Review Team, chaired by Timothy Quinn.

He said: "A lot of the groundwork had been done before.

"There was a huge amount of consultation done by Timothy Quinn and his team. They listened to opinions from throughout the IFA and (tonight) was a vindication of all the hard work.

"It was the right thing to do, we have got the right decision and it sets us on the right footing going forward into the future.

"It turns us into much more of a best practice model for governance, it makes the Board accountable to a Council of the IFA and that is a big thing."

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