Belfast Telegraph

Football in meltdown

The governing body of Northern Ireland football is heading for collapse.

Key members of the Irish FA's ruling Executive Board are now preparing to quit, possibly along with Chief Executive Patrick Nelson, as the bitter power struggle at the top of the organisation explodes.

That will lead to serious financial implications for the whole game here, including the end of the new national stadium dream. Heavily criticised President Raymond Kennedy and his No2 David Martin are edging closer to staying in power. The new casualties of IFA in-fighting now look set to be their Executive Board opponents.

But football will be the biggest loser with the axe falling on £23million Government funding for the proposed £30m reconstruction of Windsor Park. Grant aid to all levels of the game is also in danger.

Failed efforts to dislodge both Kennedy and Martin could lead to Executive Board resignations as early as tomorrow. Chief Executive Nelson is also said to be considering his position with the pair still firmly dug in. That's despite intense pressure on them to resign over the £500,000 loss to football from their botched sacking of Nelson's predecessor, Howard Wells.

The threatened meltdown will hit football at every level here.

“The IFA is about to disintegrate,” an IFA insider told Sunday Life. “Football will pay a high price but that appears to be what some people want.”

For the full story, see this week's Sunday Life.

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