Belfast Telegraph

No coming back for IFA chief Kennedy after sacking of Wells

By Graham Luney

An independent report into the sacking of former chief executive Howard Wells is the knockout blow which has put Raymond Kennedy on the canvas.

The report, carried out by Sport NI on behalf of the Government, shows the IFA in a very bad light.

Kennedy and his No2 David Martin are in the firing line after an unfair dismissal case cost the Irish FA over £500,000, which included a payout to Wells and legal costs.

Although the report is heavily critical of the duo, Kennedy has no regrets and he believes he acted in the best interests of the IFA and football.

“At no stage did I believe the DCAL report was going to paint a picture I was not familiar with,” he said.

“It was just going to illustrate what happened. I don’t disagree with that, I never told lies and was up front about everything.

“I was aware that the IFA was being put at risk but I was not aware of the size of that risk. That surprised me. I never believed the amount of the risk was that big. I still believe the actions were for the good and benefit of the IFA.

“People don’t remember positive things about people. People remember the cases that involve sex and fraud, not much else.”

As well as losing allies within the IFA, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure have also piled pressure on Kennedy, demanding changes at the football body.

Kennedy accepts that future Government funding for football could be at risk in the light of the inquiry findings and that realisation is likely to hasten his exit.

“I do not want the IFA to be deprived of vital funding around the National Stadium issue and I will always do things that are in the best interests of the IFA and football here,” he added.

“We are in a recession and cutbacks are happening but I would like to think that money set aside for a new stadium is still there and will emerge.

“I will speak to IFA Board members today but I always believed that a president should be allowed time to get things right.

“I’ve devoted so much time to this job and I want to keep doing it.”

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