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What’s behind new Irish FA revolution?

Dramatic proposals for the restructuring of the Irish FA, including the removal of the president and other office-bearers from a smaller Executive Board, are already gathering support throughout the game.

The proposed changes, handed into the the IFA chief executive yesterday, by Ballymena and Provincial League side Dunloy, backed up by a requisition for an EGM from 130 other clubs, will be far reaching if supported by the necessary three-quarters majority.

Dunloy have been involved in widespread consultation with various strands within the game to bring about further constitutional adjustment following a critical Sport Northern Ireland report into the dismissal of former chief executive Howard Wells and a strong hint from the Sports Minister Nelson McCausland that he wanted to see confidence restored in IFA governnance in a matter of weeks and not months.

The main proposal is for a smaller Board from 11 to eight with only one independent in the form of the chairman who must have no conncetion with any club.

Office-bearers will not sit on the governing body, but will take their place on the Football Committee which will be in charge of all football matters.

The position of treasurer would disappear while the senior clubs would lose their automatic right to one of two vice-president roles which instead, would be open to all.

The Carling Premiership comittee will remain in charge of running the Senior League but would see their direct representation to a newly-elected Council, reduced from 12 to two, thereby bringing them into line with the intermediate, junior and women’s footall.

They can enhance their numbers if gaining nominations through the divisional associations.

Alterations to the financing and administration of the Premiership and Championship Leagues are suggested which would bring greater accountability for the money spent on these leagues, especially the senior one which continues to be heavily subsidised by IFA members. The league lost nearly £90, 000 last year in competition costs alone.

Spokesman for Dunloy Billy McIlroy, who is also secretary of the Ballymena League and chairman of the IFA’s Intermediate Committee, said: “This is an attempt to tighten and improve the governance within the association while at the same time, bringing proper representation and rationale into IFA affairs.

“The association has taken enough kickings in the public domain over the last couple of years and that has to stop and it will, if maximum confidence is restored.

“These proposals go a long way towards that aim while at the same time recognising the need to separate office-bearers and Board members.

“The Board must be more pro-active in its decision making and it will continue to hold supreme power over all other committees while concentrating on corporate policy, strategic planning and all financial concerns.

“The day-to-day football business would be delegated to the Football Committee while other committees retain their functions.

“I am confident the proposals will get the three-quarter support needed to implement the changes and and we can then usher in a new era in how the IFA is viewed by others.

“This is not about one section of the game trying to dictate to another. We have to move away from such thoughts and work together for the betterment of the game and that is what these proposals are all about,” declared Billy.

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