Belfast Telegraph

IFA chief Kennedy vows to keep quit promise

By Stuart McKinley

Going, going and in a few weeks he’ll be gone.

At least that is what Irish FA president Raymond Kennedy is saying publicly.

And after coming through a meeting of the association’s Executive Board last night, he will now be asked to reveal his full intentions at a further meeting next week when his head may roll.

Kennedy’s position as president of the IFA has been in the balance for nine months now, since a £500,000 pay-out was awarded to former chief executive Howard Wells in a wrongful dismissal case.

He was expected to come under pressure last night with a possible legal case to recoup that half-million sum pending unless the president keeps to his word and offers his resignation at the next meeting of the IFA Council.

Now that process could be accelerated if attendees at a further meeting which has been arranged for next week don’t get the answers they are looking for.

In a brief interview with the BBC last night, Kennedy reiterated his intention to stick by the statement issued by the IFA on July 6 in which said that he ‘will step aside as President, and as a director of the Irish Football Association Limited, at the next council meeting of the IFA, which is due to be held in September 2010’.

Kennedy said last night: “If the [Sports] minister has said he wants my head and there’s £30 million at stake I’m not going to put that in jeopardy.”

When asked if there were any circumstances under which he would stay, Kennedy replied: “Not at all. I wouldn’t think so.”

Kennedy has never been one to pay too much attention to what the media say about him. In the past he’s believed to have told anyone who will listen that ‘newspapers are something you wrap your chips in the next day.’

Now it’s Kennedy who has had his chips as far as his term as Irish FA president is concerned.

He can’t hang on any longer with the threat of government funding to the tune of up to £30 million being pulled if he stays.

And then there is the possibility of that legal case being brought to recoup the substantial sum that it cost the association to end Wells’ employment.

Current chief executive Patrick Nelson, who would normally attend Executive meetings, flew to his home in Derbyshire last night to enjoy a weekend off, rather than into Belfast, on his return from Wednesday’s night’s international friendly in Montenegro.

Even the fans have turned on Kennedy. A Facebook group, entitled ‘Mr Raymond Kennedy Please Stand Down For The Good Of NI Football’ was set up earlier this week.

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